Delivery of first vessel with Wärtsilä HY hybrid technology

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The ‘Vilja’, an escort tug operated by the Port of Luleå in Sweden, is the first vessel of its kind operating with the Wärtsilä HY hybrid power module. (Image Courtesy: Port of Luleå)

The technology group Wärtsilä’s hybrid power module solution, the Wärtsilä HY, is now fully operational on the ‘Vilja’, an escort tug owned by the Swedish port of Luleå. The tug was built at Gondan Shipbuilders in Asturias, Spain and was delivered in the end of June 2019 following successful completion of the commissioning and sea trials. The Wärtsilä HY is the first hybrid power module in the marine industry, and its operational application onboard the ‘Vilja’ marks a new era in shipping.

The solution has been specially developed to meet the specific needs of the tug market. It features operating characteristics that include ‘green mode’, with zero emissions and no noise, a ‘power boost’ that delivers a higher bollard pull than any other conventional solution of comparable size, and ‘smokeless operation’ whereby no smoke is produced even during start-up of the main engines. These features have all been successfully tested and demonstrated.

The Energy Management System (EMS), representing the ‘brain’ of the Wärtsilä HY, has been specifically tuned based on actual data acquired during one year of field operations. Its functionalities have been fully tested at the Wärtsilä Hybrid Centre. The EMS is designed to efficiently cope with drastically changing operating conditions. In Luleå, the vessel will alternate between normal summer time operations, and working in one metre thick ice during the winter months. Having an adapting EMS ensures the tug’s ability to maintain the highest efficiency performance in both situations.

“This vessel is the most powerful tug operating with hybrid propulsion and it can be considered as creating a benchmark in the new era of modern shipping,” says Giulio Tirelli, Director, Sales & Business Intelligence, Wärtsilä Marine. “The implementation of the Wärtsilä HY and the process followed for reaching this milestone, represents a practical application of Wärtsilä’s Data Driven Design principles, and it effectively transforms our Smart Marine vision into practice.”

“The ‘Vilja’ represents the most technologically advanced tug currently in operation. The selection of the Wärtsilä hybrid power module will ensure a drastic reduction in emissions, setting new, higher, standards for our service, and for the quality of life in the Luleå region”, says Henrik Vuorinen, CEO, Luleå Hamn AB. “Our deep cooperation with Wärtsilä will also ensure additional potential achievements during the vessel’s lifecycle.”

The innovative ‘Wärtsilä HY for Tug’ solution enables significant benefits in terms of environmental performance, and a significant reduction in fuel and maintenance costs. During trials, the icebreaking tug achieved a 100-tonne bollard pull, while producing approximately 20 percent fewer emissions than a comparable conventional vessel.

Sea News, July 5