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Hybrid system “cuts fuel use”

Bulk carrier retrofitted with solar power and energy management system

Technology group Wärtsilä has installed and commissioned a hybrid power system, incorporating photovoltaic (PV) solar energy panels, on a 61,762 dwt bulk carrier operated by Marfin Management.

February 11, 2022

The installation of PV panels manufactured by solar energy specialist Solbian was carried out on the 2016-built Paolo Topic, at Japan’s Onomichi Dockyard.


The fully integrated Wärtsilä HY Module solution includes an energy management system and batteries that delivers auxiliary power to the ship’s grid. It is described as a compact containerised solution that cuts a vessel’s emissions by optimising the onboard power production, consumption, and management.


According to Wärtsilä, the HY module gives the possibility to combine and integrate an energy storage system and additional energy sources, such as solar power, with Wärtsilä’s highly sophisticated Energy Management System (EMS) to deliver auxiliary power. The EMS has overall control of the engines, batteries, power distribution, and with the installation of solar panels on the weather deck it is a “maritime industry first”.


The containerised module has been placed on the ship’s deck to save space and has been installed without the need for dry-docking.


A Wärtsilä statement asserts: “When coupled with other sources of energy such as the PV panels the benefits are enhanced. It will address the marine sector’s major challenges to lower operating costs while simultaneously reducing environmental impact. The solution achieves this through significant reductions in fuel consumption and maintenance needs, while offering cleaner, safer, and more efficient operations. It also contributes to placing the vessel in a positive position regarding the industry’s Energy Efficiency Existing Ship (EEXI) and Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) indexes.”

WinGD opens future-focused R&D test centre
Marine engine technology company WinGD has opened a new collaborative Global Test Centre in Shanghai, China. The facility is a collaboration with CSPI (China Shipbuilding Power Engineering Institute Co., Ltd.) for “the advancement of a decarbonised future through sustainable fuel and combustion research and innovation”.

The Swiss-based company says that the role of research and development (R&D) has come into sharp focus as part of the strategy to help ships reach the IMO’s 2050 target. It says: “The success of the industry reaching these targets relies on a focus well beyond alternate fuels.”


This new centre is intended to encompass research and innovation around future fuel propulsion solutions, holistic energy management systems, and power generation based on new energy converters. For the development of new technologies and products, the facility has two 2-stroke test engines and several test rigs for the validation of sub-systems such as fuel injection, pumps or gas admission valves.


With future demands in mind, testing will focus on new fuels including methanol and ammonia, and on the further development of WinGD’s low pressure dual-fuel technology.


The test centre will also be equipped with an electrical grid representing modern vessels, including a DC grid laboratory and dynamometers instead of water brakes, a perfectly suited infrastructure to test and demonstrate hybrid propulsion systems
in the future.

WinGD Vice President Research & Development Dominik Schneiter said: “The pace at which we need to act as an industry to reach a carbon free future requires all players to step up with significant commitment. By considerably expanding our test engine infrastructure, we are confirming our commitment to accelerate the energy transition in shipping. The future is a multi-fuel landscape where deep knowledge of the combustion properties of all fuels is required. Our collaboration with our CSSC family of companies allows us to bring the full weight of our shared expertise towards this goal.”

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February 8, 2022