MTU Unveils Hybrid Propulsion System at SMM
Hamburg in September can only be the marina extravaganza that is SMM. The trade fair brought together around 50,000 industry visitors from more than 120 countries who could wander around 13 halls featuring over 2000 exhibitors. This year’s fair focused on digitalization and green shipping and while the focus was on commercial shipping, there were some enticing nuggets for the yachting world.
One standout for the world of yachting was the announcement made by MTU that in 2020 they will launch a range of completely integrated hybrid ship propulsion systems onto the market. The propulsion systems will also be made available for yachts, work boats, ferries and patrol boats in a power range extending from around 1,000 kilowatts to 4,000 kilowatts per powertrain.
The driver for the yacht market is high power output along with a significant increase in comfort levels resulting from the silent, vibration-free and emission-free cruising.
The new hybrid system incorporating Series 2000 engines will be tested in a yacht next year. At the press conference, Knut Müller, head of the marine and government business at MTU spoke of the significant benefits provided by a combination of diesel engines and electric motors, in addition to batteries. He added that the most important are efficiency, environmental compatibility and the flexibility of the propulsion system. With the aid of a modular system, we will make integrated hybrid propulsion systems available that are tailored to the customer’s specific requirements.
An early example of customer-specific hybrid propulsion systems is Sailing Yacht A, the world’s largest sailing yacht which was commissioned in 2017, which has been fitted out with an MTU hybrid system. This is a combined diesel-electric propulsion system that offers seven different propulsion modes. When needed, a maximum speed of 21 knots is achieved using the diesel engines and electric motors for a combined power output of close to 16,000 kilowatts; while slow cruising with very low vibration levels and reduced fuel consumption is also possible.
In another initiative, the Dutch shipyard Heesen Yachts, is offering customers a 50-meter fast displacement yacht that combines 1,200 kilowatts of diesel power (2 x MTU 12V 2000 M61) with 2 x 110 kilowatts of electrical output with its Nova Hybrid project. The all-aluminium yacht can travel at a speed of nine knots on electrical power alone, while offering completely silent cruising.