First HY 2 Hybrid tug reference for Wärtsilä

Wartsila's first HY Hybrid reference will be for a RAL-designed tug (RAL) Wartsila's first HY Hybrid reference will be for a RAL-designed tug (RAL)

Wärtsilä Corporation has received the first order for its HY 2 hybrid power modules for a new escort tug to serve the Swedish port of Luleå in the Gulf of Bothnia at the northern end of the Baltic Sea.

The tug, a TundRA 3600 design from the pen of naval architects Robert Allan Ltd is under construction at the Asturias yard of Spanish shipbuilder Gondan and with its launching, due early in 2019 it will become the first vessel operating with the Wärtsilä modules.

The development of (in this instance) tugs with modern variations on the more traditional means of propulsion is becoming increasingly evident and Wärtsilä’s version is claimed to have environmental benefits along with operational and flexibility advantages that result in considerable economic gains and capable of operating on battery power when in transit.

While configured as a mechanical set-up, the hybrid diesel-electric mode will allow the number of prime movers in use to be reduced to just one for various operational profiles. These include ship assist with a bollard pull of up to 55 tons, or 90 tons on two main engines in diesel-mechanical mode. A bollard pull of 100 tons will be available when in boost mode.

The new tug for the Port of Luleå will be capable of being completely independent from shoreside charging facilities since recharging of the batteries will be automatically managed by the Energy Management System, described as the brain of the Wärtsilä HY but with the ability and flexibility to recharge from shoreside connections when required. The modules include an energy management system that optimises combined use of the engines, the energy storage system and the power distribution train.

The mechanical machinery side of the engineroom installation is based on Wärtsilä’s 26 series engines and the scope of work includes the tug’s integrated automation and alarm system. The HY system is designed to cope with the harsh conditions found in the Gulf of Bothnia which is typically frozen over in the winter months, the tug’s specification requiring it to handle one metre thick ice at a speed of up to three knots.

Wärtsilä expects emission levels to be some 20 percent lower with the HY system compared with conventional vessels of this type and size and the company clearly sees a wide potential for the system as stated by Giulio Tirelli, director, marine engineering at Wärtsilä Marine Solutions: "We expect to see the Wärtsilä HY 2 hybrid power module becoming the new technological benchmark for tug propulsion systems given its clear economic, operational, and environmental benefits. The Wärtsilä HY technology opens the door to a new era in shipping and is based on our unmatched in-house capabilities in a broad range of disciplines."

By Peter Barker

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