In a milestone for the southeast Asian country and a source of national pride, Singapore has its first diesel-electric hybrid-powered pilot boat, built, owned and operated by Penguin International
Certified by Bureau Veritas with the notation ‘ZE’ (zero emissions), Penguin Tenaga is a 15-m, 12-passenger aluminium pilot boat capable of running in pure electric mode at 5 knots for more than 30 minutes, and in conventional diesel mode can reach a maximum speed of 24 knots.
Solar panels installed on the roof of Penguin Tenaga’s deckhouse generate electrical energy that is used to recharge mobile devices on board and supplement the vessel’s hotel load.
The vessel design is based on the same hull form as two of Penguin’s existing monohull pilot boats that are currently operating for Shell Eastern Petroleum in Singapore.
Plans call for Penguin Tenaga to be deployed to Pulau Bukom to join Penguin’s fleet of workboats supporting Shell’s oil refinery and petrochemicals hub.
Besides its technical innovation, Penguin Tenaga incorporates a strong sense of national pride as it is the result of a Singapore-led consortium. The onboard electric-hybrid propulsion system was supplied by Sea Forrest Power Solutions, a subsidiary of Singapore-listed BH Global Corporation. It features an ergonomic graphic user interface and can automatically switch the propulsion mode from diesel to hybrid to pure electric depending on the engine rpm.
“The success of Penguin Tenaga is a major milestone for BH Global and its strategic partners,” said BH Group chairman Vincent Lim. “We have embarked on this journey in support of Singapore’s sustainability and environmental goals, in which we took the lead for the joint design, development, and construction of Singapore’s first hybrid-powered vessel.”
The EDITRON electric motors and inverters were supplied by Danfoss Power Solutions, the 42.6 kWh of lithium ion batteries were supplied by Durapower Technology and the gearbox, shafts and propellers were supplied by ZF Asia Pacific.
At higher speeds, Penguin Tenaga’s diesel engine charges the batteries, while at lower speeds, stored battery energy powers the propulsion. In the process, fuel consumption, emissions and noise are reduced.
Currently, there are limited applications for pure-electric vessels in Singapore due to the lack of charging infrastructure. This could change in coming years as the country electrifies its maritime eco-system to meet its ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets.
Mr Lim noted Singapore “has pledged to reduce, by 2030, GHG emissions from 2005 levels by 36%. We will continue working towards our goal of providing solutions to lower the emissions footprint for coastal vessel owners and operators in Singapore and regional waters.”
Building on the success of Penguin Tenaga, Sea Forrest is developing a ‘full-electric ready’ system that will enable electric-hybrid vessels to transform into pure-electric vessels with minimal modifications in the future. Sea Forrest is also trialling a plug-and-play, quick-charging system capable of rapidly charging multiple vessels simultaneously.
“We aim to achieve a complete eco-system for Singapore’s electric-hybrid and pure-electric propulsion systems, ranging from shore chargers to onboard systems,” said Sea Forrest chief executive George Lee.
“Electrifying harbour craft vessels operating in and around Singapore waters will significantly help to reduce Singapore’s emissions footprint,” said Mr Lim. “Equipped with the technical knowhow and relevant experience, BH Global, together with our subsidiary Sea Forrest, will endeavour to participate in and contribute towards realising this national vision.”
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