Ferries - Improving energy efficiency

Nearly 40 percent of the world’s population - 2.4 billion people – now live within 100 km of the coast - combine this with the focus from ports, cities, society, governments and regulatory bodies on emissions and environmentally sustainable transport options and it’s clear to see the need to invest in ferries to meet future demand and requirements.  This is creating exciting new opportunities in the ferry industry and is increasing the speed of innovation with a focus on new technologies that can deliver efficient business solutions, while lowering emissions across all ferry types.

Wärtsilä is committed to collaborating with ferry operators and owners to deliver the solutions needed to meet this growing demand as efficiently as possible. Through our advanced technology and 185 years of industry expertise, our solutions provide improved safety for passengers and crew; predictive analytics for increased productivity and return on investment; and route optimization for fuel savings and reduced environmental impact.

Wärtsilä RoPax

Wärtsilä future ferry solutions

Ferry solutions by Wärtsilä


Business White Paper: Hybrid propulsion, the future for RoPax ferries

Green is undoubtedly the colour concept most dominating today’s shipping industry, and nowhere is this more true than in the ferry sector. Environmental considerations are, along with the need to optimize operational efficiency, high on the agenda of ferry operators around the world.

Hybrid systems are being featured more and more on a variety of vessel types, but are particularly relevant to ferries since they are more likely to be operating within areas covered by strict environmental regulations.

Download this white paper to get a better understanding of how to select the most appropriate power system configuration for your RoPax or RoRo ferry, not only for today, but for tomorrow as well.

Download Business White Paper

Commuter ferries

Commuters are leading the way in this transport shift to the waterways. Safety, enhanced productivity, new fuels and fuel efficiencies, are the cornerstone of our approach to delivering sustainable solutions for passengers, crews, ferry owners, and the environment.   

The market is changing. If you’re running a thriving ferry business, you need to adapt for the future. Wärtsilä partnerships span the entire 40-50-year lifecycle of your vessel; ensuring that you build the right vessel, integrate the most adaptable technologies and systems, have future fuel options, maintain the highest-standards of operations, and secure a sustainable, profitable, long-term maintenance plan.

Our comprehensive offering for commuter ferries can provide customers with an optimised ship design, superb system engineering, and a fully integrated scope of equipment.  A Wärtsilä project manager can be your single point of contact.  He/she will be responsible for streamlining our engineering, the systems integration, and all procedures throughout the design, building, and commissioning of the vessel.

Wärtsilä Hybrid/Battery Systems

The Wärtsilä hybrid/battery system and its integration with conventional diesel – or dual fuel engine gensets, offers significant efficiency improvement by running the engines on optimal load and absorbing many of the load fluctuations through batteries. Wärtsilä deliveres systems that allow ferries to run entirely on batteries or in a battery-engine hybrid configuration where the fuel options are liquefied natural gas (LNG) or biofuel.

Wireless power technology


Wärtsilä is currently prototyping the world’s first inductive power charging system (wireless), as opposed to conductive (a physical cable), to charge a hybrid-powered car ferry. The system eliminates physical cable connections, thus reducing wear and tear caused by seawater, snow and ice, and enables charging to begin immediately when the vessel arrives in port. Renewable energy, battery solutions and performance are improving and getting cheaper. There is no reason not to implement them in coastal shipping. 

Learn more about our wireless power technology

Ro-Pax ferries

Wärtsilä’s unique position as a single-source provider of products, systems, and services to the ferry industry provides a host of benefits to both owners and shipbuilders. Our products and solutions for RoPax vessels are made to fit specific customer requirements and are aimed at providing reliable ferry services.  We supply a range of highly efficient systems, including Wärtsilä’s comprehensive portfolio of main and auxiliary engines, gears, pro­pellers, waterjets and thrusters.

Wärtsilä’s well-proven dual-fuel technology and world-class LNG handling systems are integral to satisfying the ferry industry’s demand for a new generation of low-emissions Ro-Pax vessels powered by natural gas.

Additionally, Wartsila’s extensive offering also consists of (dual fuel-) electric propulsion systems, power generation and distribution systems, navigation, automation and communication systems, dynamic positioning, safety and security solutions as well as entertainment systems. Finally, our environmental solutions, which include exhaust gas cleaning and ballast water management systems, waste-, oil-, and fresh water products, environmental seals, and bearing systems, are making a meaningful contribution to achieving a sustainable ferry industry.

Ro-Pax Ferries - Leading the way into the gas age

Global shipping, including the ferry industry, is entering the gas age. The benefits are both economic and environmental. With LNG as fuel, SOX emissions are eliminated entirely, NOX emissions are 85% lower than with diesel, and CO2 emissions are reduced by 30%. In fact, LNG has the lowest emissions factor, i.e. fewer emissions of CO2 for the same weight of fuel. Wärtsilä has led the way in developing and fine tuning technologies that make LNG a viable, safe, and cost effective marine fuel. Our first dual-fuel engines capable of operating on either gas or conventional diesel fuels were intro­duced already in the 1990s, and our first conversion project changing an existing large vessel from diesel to LNG fuel, successfully took place in 2011.

Read more about our gas solutions 

Wärtsilä Waterjets for fast ferries

Wärtsilä is recognized as a market leader for waterjets in the fast ferry market. Wärtsilä’s axial waterjets power the ‘Francisco’, the world’s fastest high speed ferry.

The compactly designed axial pump with excellent efficiency, cavitation and noise characteristics and high performance components in stainless steel to prevent wear and corrosion are key benefits to our customers in the segment in addition to the flexibility due to the modular design.

Read more about our waterjet offering for ferries

Economy and environmental compliance

MP - Ferry - Economy and Environmental Compliance

Sustainable ferries
Reducing emissions to air
Water treatment
High voltage shore connection systems
Water lubricated tail shaft solutions
Ballast Water Management Systems

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Wärtsilä’s unique position as a single-source provider of products, systems, and solutions to the ferry industry provides a host of benefits.

  • A single point of contact and single responsibility
  • Reduced risk of incompatibilities
  • Time savings in design and engineering
  • Simpler procurement procedures with lower timing and supply risks
  • Fewer project participants enables faster decision making and fewer coordination difficulties
  • Co-engineering with the yard’s design department
  • On-site support during installation and commissioning

Press releases

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