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Rotterdam's new hybrid patrol boat set to start operating in September

26 Apr 2017 09:11 GMT

The RPA 8 will be powered by distillate fuel and electricity.



Port of Rotterdam Authority says its new RPA 8 hybrid patrol boat - powered by marine distillate fuel and electricity - is due to start operating in September. It replaces the RPA 3, which has reached the end of its life cycle.

The green patrol boat includes a number of fuel-saving features, including a special hull vane - a kind of underwater spoiler - which enables the vessel to produce fewer waves, and thus lower fuel consumption.

Additionally, the hull is made from aluminium, which is three times lighter than steel, meaning that the RPA 8 consumes less fuel.

Low speed

As they are designed to work hard, diesel engines operate best at full capacity. Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulates are at their lowest - relatively speaking - when the engine is going 'all-out'. The issue with patrol boats is that they generally travel at a calm pace through the port area, which is not the optimal speed for low emissions. With the RPA 8's hybrid propulsion system solution, however, the patrol boat will be able to operate with optimal efficiency at low cruising speeds.

How the hybrid propulsion system works

When the engine is in hybrid mode, diesel engine D is powered off and uncoupled. Diesel engine B supplies 85 percent of the power used by propeller 1. In addition, the engine allows electric motor A, which is connected via the propeller shaft, to serve as a generator for electric motor C. This motor powers propeller 2. The maximum speed in hybrid mode is 23 kilometres per hour (km/h). The remaining electricity generated by A is used to power the boat's onboard equipment (E).

Port of Rotterdam Authority estimates that total fuel savings with the hybrid propulsion system are between 15 and 20 percent.

Next generation of patrol boats

Once the RPA 8 begins operating in September, Port of Rotterdam Authority says work will start on the RPA 10 and the RPA 11. Both vessels - built in 2002 - are to be converted so that they can also be powered by a combination of distillate fuel and electricity.




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