Electric shipping and hybrid ships

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There’s more to electric shipping than electric propulsion

Electric shipping and hybrid ships are important solutions now that the marine industry has entered a new era – the age of decarbonisation and strict regulation. Vessels must be future proof: flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs in the future. As the regulation evolves and restrictions on emissions become stricter, the best way to stay competitive is to rely on the best available technologies. Electric shipping or ship electrification is one of the key solutions for marine decarbonisation.

The future of shipping is here: Discover how these interesting electrical solutions can reduce the environmental footprint for different vessels.

Electrical solutions and decarbonisation

Electrical solutions will deliver reduced emissions as retrofits and offer a competitive advantage also for newbuild vessels.  

Electrical solutions have been part of vessel design for many years in the form of diesel-electric propulsion or shaft generators, for example. The share of green energy – from renewable sources such as wind, water, and solar – in land-based electrical grids is on the increase.  

It makes sense for ships to take advantage of shore-based green energy. As an example, using a shore connection can reduce emissions significantly while the ship is in port. Depending on the vessel and its operating profile there are many ways to reduce its emission footprint. The key is optimisation: finding the right solution for each vessel.  

Slow steaming used to be the favourite solution for many vessels to reduce emissions. Flexibility was not an issue then, so this means that some vessels will never be fully optimised. Electrical systems onboard make it possible to use smarter propulsion systems. Smarter, more resilient, and more flexible – and thus capable of adapting to the changing needs in the future of shipping.

What powers cruise ships in the future? Will cargo ship engines be electric?

Deepsea vessels will have to adopt green fuel engine technology to decarbonise. Electrical systems will be an integral part of the system including shaft generators and shore connection. Electric cruise ships and electric cargo ships are a futuristic concept, but they can go hybrid and take advantage of solar energy to improve their efficiency. 

Tugs can benefit from hybrid or even full electric solutions. They operate close to the shore to land based electrical infrastructure. Because they have high load variations and spend long periods of time on standby, hybrid electric solutions will cut their GHG emissions significantly. 

Ferries are often part of local transportation routes and can easily use the land-based charging infrastructure. If the route is short enough, the ferry can even be fully electric. Many ferries still prefer to have a hybrid electric solution to minimise risks. 

Any short-distance or coastal vessel can be a hybrid ship. They can charge their ship battery with green energy available at the port. They can be a zero emission ship while manoeuvring, station keeping, and port navigating if they switch to full electric power during those operations.

Battery-powered ships, hybrid ships or diesel-electric ships?

Which solution would be optimal for your vessels? The following are examples of actual solutions.

E&PMS landing page Solutions

RoRo - Diesel electric, PTO/PTI and hybrid
Ferry - Diesel-electric and hybrid
Ferry – Zero emissions battery solution
Cruise Vessel - Fuel cell diesel-electric propulsion
Bulk Carrier - Hybrid propulsion with PTO/PTI and shore connection
Offshore service vessels – Hybrid propulsion
Shuttle Tanker - Diesel Electric
Tug – Hybrid 
Fishing Vessel - Hybrid
Large LNG carrier – Next-generation hybrid-electric
Catamaran ferry – zero emissions battery solution

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Why electrification – market trends and drivers

Watch the video and you will also learn three reasons to consider ship electrification as a solution for marine decarbonisation.

Solutions in more detail

Customer stories

Discover the benefits others have already gained from marine electric solutions.

  • Finnsirius © Finnlines
    Finnlines' two RoPax vessels

    Why was an integrated hybrid solution for two new RoPax vessels the perfect choice to support Finnlines’ long-term decarbonisation goals?

    Read about the all-in-one package for zero-emission operation
  • Aasen Shipping's modern bulk carrier
    Aasen Shipping

    Hybrid solution delivers big fuel savings, reliability and outstanding performance for Aasen Shipping's modern self-discharging bulk carrier.

    Learn more how hybrid solution delivers big fuel savings
  • Misje Vita

    Hybrid solution including engine, batteries, propeller and energy management system delivers big fuel savings for Misje Rederi's newbuild bulk carrier.

    Read more about the hybrid solution
  • Brittany Ferries

    With an 11.5 MWh energy storage system, Brittany Ferries’ two new RoPax vessels are record breakers. What rewards will they reap from hybrid operation?

    Read more about the hybrid solution
  • Harvey Gulf International Marine

    Wärtsilä HY hybrid upgrade has helped make Harvey Gulf International Marine’s operations significantly more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly.

    Read more about Wärtsilä HY
  • Maersk Minder

    Wärtsilä HY hybrid upgrade cuts fuel consumption and carbon emissions onboard the Maersk Minder anchor handling tug supply vessel.

    Learn more about Wärtsilä HY hybrid upgrade
  • Finnlines’ three new RoRo vessels

    New RoRo vessels enjoy improved efficiency and sustainability with Wärtsilä’s electric hybrid propulsion and energy management and optimisation systems.

    Discover the Wärtsilä hybrid technology
  • akerbiomarine reference
    Aker BioMarine

    Wärtsilä’s sustainable technical and hybrid solutions, with high levels of safety and reliability, were considered as being the most suitable for this project.

    Read more
  • Marfin HY Bulker reference
    Paolo Topic

    The integrated solution delivers a drastic reduction in fuel consumption and maintenance costs.

    Read more

Insights on electric shipping

Discover these insightful articles and case studies – they will build your knowledge of ship electrification and hybrid marine solutions.

aerial view from ship
24 Aug 2023 · Article
7 min read
Seven fascinating hybrid ship trends that everyone needs to know about
The next decade is promising some exciting developments for hybrid vessels....
15 Aug 2022 · Article
4 min read
Introducing the MS Medstraum – the world's first zero-emission fast ferry
As part of the EU-funded TrAM project, Wärtsilä and partners have...
20 Apr 2022 · Article
6 min read
Plug and play – cutting vessel fuel consumption and emissions with shore-power
Five things you need to know about reducing emissions, fuel costs and...

Webinars related to electric shipping

Explore what you need to know about electric shipping and hybrid ships – learn from experts from the marine industry and associations. Register now! Or catch up on webinar recordings.

16 Nov 2022 · Webinar
Short Sea Shipping - A Smart Propulsion System
With the drive to decarbonise and ensure vessels are relevant and do not become obsolete it is time...
Denmark Hybrid Solutions Webinar Hero Slide
18 Nov 2020 · Webinar
Hybrid Solutions for marine applications - Optimise your operational performance

Hand-picked press releases

Wärtsilä solutions chosen for world’s first methanol fuelled hybrid RoRo vessels

Wärtsilä Corporation, Press release 13 September 2023 at 10:00 UTC+2
  • The ships will be the world’s first methanol fuelled hybrid RoRo vessels and will operate in the Stena Line Irish Sea system (illustrated - © Stena RoRo).
  • Wärtsilä will supply an integrated hybrid propulsion system for two new hybrid RoRo vessels (illustrated - © Wärtsilä Corporation)

Technology group Wärtsilä will supply an integrated hybrid propulsion system for two new hybrid RoRo vessels. The ships are being built at the China Merchants Jinling shipyard (Weihai) Co., Ltd for the Swedish shipping company Stena RoRo. The ships will be the world’s first methanol fuelled hybrid RoRo vessels and will operate in the Stena Line Irish Sea system. The combination of new sustainable fuels and electrification is in line with the company’s sustainable operations target. Part of the order was booked by Wärtsilä in Q2 2023, while the remaining order was booked in Q3 2023.

Each vessel will be equipped with two Wärtsilä 32M multi-fuel engines capable now of operating on methanol fuel and with ammonia ready notation. Wärtsilä will also supply the methanol engine auxiliary equipment, the gearboxes, two controllable pitch propellers (CPP), three bow thrusters, the NACOS navigation system, three Wärtsilä 20 auxiliary engines, and the hybrid electric system consisting of shore power, batteries, shaft generators, converters, transformers as well as the Energy Management System making it all work together.

Each vessel will also benefit from the Wärtsilä Hybrid Solution, optimising the fuel consumption today and allowing for future full green operation. The vessels will also be equipped with Wärtsilä shore power solution enabling carbon-free operations when the vessels are in port.

“These vessels are a further development of our previous cargo ship concepts where the focus on sustainability and future-proofing with multi-fuel combustion engines are prioritised,” says Per Westling, Managing Director of Stena RoRo. “With the help of Wärtsilä’s advanced technology, we intend to have the greenest Ro-Ro vessels on the market.”

“We are proud to be supporting these innovative hybrid vessels with our methanol fuelled engines and electrification systems. Both Stena RoRo and Wärtsilä share the same commitment to decarbonising shipping operations, and these vessels represent a further step in this direction by being the first methanol hybrid ships in their class. Not only will the emissions be minimised, but they will also have the most efficient energy utilisation during operations,” commented Roger Holm, President of Wärtsilä’s Marine Power business.

The 147 metre long ships will have 2,800 lane metre capacity and will be able to accommodate a total of 37 passengers and crew. They are scheduled for delivery in June and November 2025. The Wärtsilä equipment will be delivered to the yard in 2024.

Wärtsilä has a strong relationship with Stena RoRo, and as early as 2015 Wärtsilä converted the Stena Germanica to operate on methanol fuel. The two companies are currently cooperating on a number of other Ro-Pax projects.

Media contact for more information on this release:

Isabella Alder
Positioning and Strategic Communications Manager
Wärtsilä Marine Power
Tel: +44 (0) 7792 681 757
marine.media@wartsila.com

Image(s) caption: Wärtsilä will supply an integrated hybrid propulsion system for two new hybrid RoRo vessels (illustrated - © Wärtsilä Corporation). The ships will be the world’s first methanol fuelled hybrid RoRo vessels and will operate in the Stena Line Irish Sea system (illustrated - © Stena Roro).

All Wärtsilä releases are available at https://www.wartsila.com/media/news-releases and at http://news.cision.com/wartsila-corporation where also the images can be downloaded.

Wärtsilä in brief:
Wärtsilä is a global leader in innovative technologies and lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. We emphasise innovation in sustainable technology and services to help our customers continuously improve their environmental and economic performance. Our dedicated and passionate team of 17,500 professionals in more than 240 locations in 79 countries shape the decarbonisation transformation of our industries across the globe. In 2022, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 5.8 billion. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.
www.wartsila.com

Wärtsilä Marine Power in brief:
Wärtsilä Marine Power is a global leader in power, propulsion and lifecycle solutions for the marine market. From our end-to-end digital ecosystem planningto our future fuels development, Marine Power is driving the shipping industry forward on its journey towards a decarbonised and sustainable future. Our broad portfolio of engines, digital technologies, propulsion systems, hybrid technology, and integrated powertrain systems delivers the efficiency, reliability, safety, and environmental performance needed to support our customers. Our offering includes real-time insights into operations, performance, and energy use,performance-based agreements, lifecycle solutions, and an unrivalled global network of maritime expertise.
www.wartsila.com/marine

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