Hybrid propulsion is now an accepted avenue to decarbonisation and is proving popular with ferries and offshore support vessels
Hybrid-powered vessels have a propulsion system that does not rely entirely on traditional sources of energy such as fuel oil and actively strive towards a lower carbon-emissions profile.
An example is the Wärtsilä hybrid propulsion system for the roro ferry for the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. The vessel is being built at the Western Pacific Marine shipyard and will serve the Balfour–Kootenay Bay route across Kootenay Lake. It features two Wärtilsä 20 generator sets with selective catalytic reduction systems, a hybrid solution with a DC electrical system and batteries, energy management system, and a vessel alarm and monitoring system.
2020 was a breakthrough year for ships with battery systems. According to DNV GL’s Alternative Fuels Insight, there were 259 battery-powered vessels in 2019, but in 2020 the active fleet rose to 320 vessels, with another 58 on order.
In 2022, the fleet is expected to reach 328 battery-hybrid vessels split between hybrid units (48%), pure electric (24%), plug-in hybrid (23%) and the remaining (5%) of as yet undetermined hybrid type.
Car and passenger ferries, with their relatively easy access to shore-based power and shorter, regular voyages, dominate with 158 hybrid ferries in operation. The offshore supply vessel sector has been quick to adopt the technology with 53 in operation. Norway, which is a leading in the provision of greener alternatives and funding for shipping, has 205 hybrid vessels in operation.
Hear and see more about zero and ultra-low emissions OSVs at the Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference & Exhibition on 23 March 2021. Register your interest here.
For more about zero and ultra-low emissions vessels in North America, register for Maritime Hybrid & Electric Conference, North America 1-2 March 2021. Register your interest here.