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LNG-fuelled ferry to undergo two-year trial with propulsion technology

German ferry to be tested on Lake Constance from 2019.

Updated on 12 Jun 2017 12:41 GMT

Rolls-Royce Power Systems and the public utility of the German city of Konstanz (Constance) have agreed to begin testing marine propulsion technology on Lake Constance from 2019.

The public utility's new car ferry is to be equipped with twin eight-cylinder Series 4000 gas engines from MTU Friedrichshafen, a business of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, with each engine delivering 746 kilowatts (kW).

It is set to be the first inland waterway passenger vessel in Europe to be propelled by straightforward high-speed gas engines, and the ferry will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Representatives from Rolls-Royce Power Systems and the Constance public utility signed the cooperation agreement on Friday. The tie-up covers a two-year trial of the propulsion system under service conditions, with both partners collating data.

"Gas engines for mobile applications form a core component of our green and high-tech initiative. This flagship project is being realized on our local ferry service between the towns of Meersburg and Constance, which allows us to demonstrate the effectiveness of our new technology and set an international trend right on our doorstep. We firmly believe that in shipping, gas engines are set to play a pivotal role as a back-up to well-proven diesel engine technology," said Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems.

"The first ships were steam-powered, then diesel engines took over for roughly a century, but now gas engines are to determine the course of marine propulsion in the future," commented Norbert Reuter, head of Constance's public utility. "The shuttle service we provide between Constance and Meersburg saves some 80 million kilometres of road travel each year, and with this new ferry we are making our service even more ecologically sound."

Compared to a diesel engine without exhaust gas aftertreatment, MTU says the gas engine emits no soot, no sulphur oxides, 90 percent fewer nitric oxides and 10 percent fewer greenhouse gases; this enables it to comply with the IMO III emissions standard that came into force last year, without the need for additional exhaust aftertreatment.

"This cooperation agreement with Rolls-Royce Power Systems marks the continuation of our partnership which now spans over 30 years. During this time, we have shared our commitment to reducing emissions harmful to the environment and to strengthening Lake Constance as a region," underlined Reuter. "Thanks to this partnership, we are assuming a pioneering role in the region of Lake Constance and beyond, since no passenger vessel on the inland waterways of Europe has yet achieved the certification we are striving for."

Schell added: "Here on Lake Constance we are joining forces to set a standard for others in the industry to follow, which will gain us international recognition in the world of domestic shipping."

Rolls-Royce Power Systems first presented its MTU-brand gas engines for marine propulsion in July 2016, and its prototype - a 16-cylinder Series 4000 unit - has now completed over 4,000 operating hours on the test stand.

The first pre-series 4000 units for marine propulsion are scheduled for delivery at the end of 2017. They are to be dispatched to the Strategic Marine shipyard in Vietnam where they will be installed in catamarans for Dutch operator Doeksen. The public utility of Constance is to be supplied with the first eight-cylinder version of this engine.

Image: A ferry transports passengers on Lake Constance - with Lindau Lighthouse in the background.

Related Links:

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Rolls-Royce showcases new gas and diesel engines at Nor-Shipping
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Rolls-Royce launches V-line version of B33:45 engine

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