MTU gas engines debut in new ferries

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Dutch shipping company Doeksen officially commissioned the Willem Barentz, the first of its two new 70m ferries, on 1 July in Harlingen. The occasion also marked the premiere of the twin 16-cylinder MTU gas engines from Rolls-Royce aboard the ferry which together deliver some 3,000kW for its ecologically clean operation on the Wadden Sea – a UNESCO World Heritage site.

“I’m really impressed with the MTU gas engines. So far, they’ve met all our expectations in terms of performance, transient response behaviour, smooth travel and low noise,” said Paul Melles, Managing Director of the Doeksen shipping company.

“We’re very proud that the Doeksen shipping company has chosen our new gas engines for eco-friendly operation of their ferries on the Wadden Sea, which is recognised as worthy of special environmental protection,” said Knut Müller, head of marine and governmental business at Rolls-Royce Power Systems. “Joining forces with them as our partner, we will be focusing our efforts on driving the energy turnaround.”

A pair of 746kW, 8-cylinder versions of the gas engine were supplied to the City of Constance public utility at the end of 2019 for the new Lake Constance ferry, which is planned to be commissioned later this year.

Rolls-Royce originally unveiled its new MTU gas engines for marine propulsion in September 2016, shipping pre-series engines for Doeksen’s two new catamarans to the Strategic Marine shipyard in Vietnam in late 2017. “Rolls-Royce has developed the very first single-fuel gas engine that can drive a fixed propeller directly and is therefore capable of dynamic acceleration. That was the advantage that really made the difference for us,” explained Melles

The main propulsion systems of the two new catamarans comprise twin MTU high-speed 16-cylinder Series 4000 gas units delivering 1,492kW. Directly driving the propellers, the engines enable the vessels to reach cruising speeds of 14kt. Emissions from the MTU gas engines fall considerably below the current IMO III limits without the need for exhaust aftertreatment – with particle mass, for example, lying under the detection threshold. Furthermore, the engine emits no sulphur oxides and only very small quantities of nitrogen oxide.

The new gas engine is particularly suitable for tugboats, ferries, cargo vessels and special vessels such as research ships. From the very beginning of its development, the focus was on fuel consumption, emissions, safety and acceleration. The gas units are furthermore equipped with multipoint fuel injection, dynamic engine control and enhanced turbo-charging. Multipoint fuel injection caters for dynamic acceleration capabilities, high power output and reduced emissions. By controlling the combustion process, it also offers the advantage of higher fuel efficiency. Since the gas system has double walls, the engine room can still be laid out more or less as for diesel-based propulsion.

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