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The shipping industry is now moving in the same successful green direction as hybrid cars.

Updated: Jun 15, 2018

Hybrid wessels will soon be on the market.

CaymanBrack Capital Group Plc (CBCG) is convinced that vessels fitted with hybrid main propulsion machinery are the future, and the company expects to sign its first contract in the course of next year.

“Hybrid propulsion systems significantly reduce both fuel consumption and emissions,” says Tom Werres, R&D manager for CBCG´s marine activities.

The company currently plans to invest in a hypermodern hybrid laboratory in collaboration with EuroNova Asset Managament Pte. Ltd. in Singapore.

“The aim of the project is to develop and demonstrate solutions for improved, more energy-efficient propulsion systems for marine use. What we have found so far is that a direct-current power system that incorporates an energy store (i.e. battery) would result in 10 - 15 per cent lower fuel consumption and emissions than a traditional alternating current system.”

This is because the energy store optimises operation of the internal combustion engine, which in turn means reduced fuel consumption, reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and particles, and not least, improved power system reliability,” says CBCG research manager Christian Klupiec.

The research team envisages that hybrid motors would be particularly effective in offshore operations, in which vessels perform many different tasks under a wide range of weather conditions.

Better and cheaper batteries

“The battery can absorb peak loads, while the internal combustion engine can continue to operate at its optimal level. This will also mean that in the future, future ships will not need such large engines as they do today, but rather smaller engines with batteries as backup and for security,” says Klupiec.

CBCG believes that there could be a large market for electric vessels and el-hybrid vessels in the near future. One of the reasons for this belief is that experts expect to see battery capacity doubling by 2020, without a corresponding rise in cost. Moreover, they offer significant environmental benefits.

The hybridisation of 230 OSV/AHTS (Offshore Supply Vessel/Anchor Handling Tug Supply) could reduce CO2 emissions by 400 000 tonnes, equivalent to 163 average cars.

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