Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Brittany Ferries Saint-Malo to be the world’s largest hybrid ship

Brittany Ferries Saint-Malo, set to carry passengers between the U.K. and France in the next few years, will be the largest hybrid vessel ever built, according to the operator. The vessel will boast a battery capacity of 11.5 MWh, approximately double that typically used for hybrid propulsion in marine vessels.

This super ship will integrate multiple systems allowing real-time energy optimization while sailing. Optimized energy efficiency, hybrid power, and shore-side plug-in have the potential to yield an improvement of up to 15% on greenhouse gas emissions compared with diesel propulsion – according to engine and battery supplier Wärtsilä.

In total, StenaRoRo is constructing three hybrid ships supplied with Wärtsilä hybrid technology. Two were specified by Brittany Ferries, with the recently named Saint-Malo (destined for St Malo – Portsmouth route) scheduled for delivery in 2024. Shortly thereafter, an as-yet-unnamed hybrid will join the fleet, running the company’s most popular Caen-Portsmouth route. The hybrids will replace Bretagne and Normandie, respectively, two of the longest-serving vessels in the family.

Salamanca - first LNG vessel to join the fleet.
Salamanca – first LNG vessel to join the fleet. Credit: Brittany Ferries

“Hybrid technology continues to move our fleet renewal program forward and will follow the introduction of two LNG-powered ships. From day one of operation, ports like St Malo in France and Portsmouth in the U.K. will benefit. Shore-side power capability means further benefits will be realized, as investment by ports in plug-in infrastructure allows,” said Christophe Mathieu Brittany Ferries, CEO.

Brittany Ferries’ work is expected to inspire other shipping companies to take a step towards more environmentally conscious engineering and perhaps replace or upgrade much of their existing carbon-intensive fleets.

“Stena wants to be a frontrunner in decarbonizing our fleet and, together with our partners, pushing developments towards zero-emission operations,” added Per Westling, MD StenaRoRo. “Hybridisation allows our vessels to be highly flexible as we adapt to future technology developments, including green fuels, fuel cells, bigger batteries, and solar or wind supported propulsion.”

As well as engines and batteries, marine specialist Wärtsilä will supply gearboxes and propellors for the hybrid ships. “This order further strengthens Wärtsilä’s leadership in the hybrid segment,” added Hakan Agnevall, President and CEO of Wärtsilä. “The extensive battery size will allow the vessels to operate with full power, using both propellors and all thrusters to maneuver emissions-free in and out of ports, even in bad weather. The built-in shore power solution will charge the batteries while berthed.