Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Marine Propulsion


April 1, 2018

In 2017, Harley Marine's 120-foot Earl Redd, built by Diversified Marine, in Portland, Oregon received the first Tier 4 marine engines in the nation with SCR chambers. Photo by Kurt Redd courtesy of Diversified Marine.

The year 2018 ushers in a new era for marine propulsion, as the EPA regulation of emissions for diesel engines of more than 600 kW (805 HP) up to 3,700 kW (4,960 HP) reaches the final Tier 4 level. This process began in the 1990's when early versions of electronic controls were introduced. The EPA legislation set a series of increasingly high standards for engine manufacturers in North America, which are similar to the new rules in the European Union.

The companies have invested heavily over the past decade to test and perfect the new technologies needed to meet these demanding requirements.

Smaller engines 130 kW (175 HP) to 600 kW (805 HP) have already met Tier 3, which is their final level. These standards are met with on-engine technologies, while all high RPM Tier 4 engines are matched with a separate and more complex SCR system. This has inspired designers to investigate the option of using multiple 800 HP Tier 3 engines instead of a single large Tier 4, possibly in a diesel-electric configuration.

Engine rebuilds and replacements must also comply with EPA rules, though they are not as strict as those for newbuilds.

The first Tier 4 marine engines in the nation with SCR chambers and urea (diesel fluid) tanks were introduced by Caterpillar in 2017 and have already been in service for a year on Harley Marine's 120-foot Earl Redd, built by Diversified Marine, in Portland. The 110-foot Tier 4 Caden Foss, built nearby at JT Marine in Vancouver, Washington for Bay Delta has been in service for six months.

Manufacturers MAN and MTU have begun distributing Tier 4 engines with SCR this winter. MAN's popular V-12 engine (rated between 1,000 and 1,800 hp) uses two cylindrical SCR chambers per engine, each approximately 3 feet by 1.25 feet, with numerous mounting options to suit engine room layout.

The first MTU Tier 4-compliant engines supplied by Pacific Power Group are destined for San Francisco Bay ferry operator WETA for installation in three 44-meter catamaran ferries. They are 16V 4000's that will each produce 2,560 kW/ 3,435 bhp at 1,800 rpm, enabling the catamarans to reach speeds of up to 34 knots. Both vessels were designed by Jensen Maritime.

Diversified Marine is now building a tug for Shaver Transportation of Portland. This 110-foot by 42-foot hull is also a Jensen design, intended to handle a wide range of tasks on the Columbia River from ship escort across the Columbia Bar to barge towing. Shaver has selected a pair of GE 12V 250s, (4,224 hp at 900 RPM) to power the vessel. This medium-speed engine meets Tier 4 and IMO Tier 3 emissions standards without after-treatment. Advanced exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) reduces key emissions by more than 70 percent while maintaining fuel efficiency and providing about 15 percent more power in virtually the same footprint.

Hybrid Tugs

Bay Delta has also ordered a seventh tug from Nichols Brothers to their tested Jensen design, but with a Rolls Royce hybrid system. This 100-foot by 40-foot vessel will be the first hybrid tug for Nichols, Jensen Maritime, and Rolls-Royce. It is powered by two Caterpillar C3516 C Tier 3 diesel engines each rated for 1,995 kW at 1,600 rpm, and by two Rolls Royce 424-kW electric motors turning Rolls Royce 255FP ASD's.

The electric motors that will boost the power for propulsion are three CAT C9.3, of 300 kW each, 480V 3-phase at 1,800 rpm generators, and one Harbor generator – a 150-kW C7.1. All engines are supplied by Peterson Power of Portland, Oregon. The Rolls Royce flexible control system provides loitering and transit at up to 8 knots in electric-only mode, then a bollard pull of more than 90 short tons in combined diesel-electric mode.

Caterpillar is collaborating with Sanmar Shipyards in Istanbul, Turkey to build a Robert Allan RAmparts 2400SX Harbor hybrid tugboat with a hydraulic propulsion system. The AVD is a patented system that provides significant improvements in both fuel efficiency and vessel performance through a fully integrated hydro-mechanical propulsion system. AVD incorporates a planetary gear set that enables seamless clutch engagement of either main engines, auxiliary engines or both, for all tasks from low-load to maximum bollard pull.

Washburn & Doughty of Maine is building two 93-foot by 38-foot Hybrid Z Drive Tugs for Harbor Docking of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Caterpillar will provide 'stem-to-stern' content for the hybrid propulsion system. This comprises two 3512E main engines providing 2,550 HP at 1,800 RPM, two C18 (565 KW) generator sets, a C7.1 (200 KW) generator set, shaft lines, Cat MTA 628 ASD's with electric steering motors and water-cooled electric shaft motors, VFD controller, and a fully integrated control system.

On Standby/Transit mode, the tug is driven by the gensets at up to 9 knots. Main engines plus one genset will produce a bollard pull of 65 metric tons. With main engines and both gensets engaged maximum bollard pull will reach 80 metric tons (88 short tons).

On January 18, the world's biggest Rotortug, the Robert Allan ART 100-46 RT Raven was launched in Sharjah, UAE for Perth, Australia-based KT Maritime Services Australia Pty Ltd. The 46 meter-long, DP2, 100-ton bollard-pull design for offshore support features two Schottel ASD's forward and one aft in the skeg. This patented triple-ASD design is claimed to produce superior handling in close quarters and indirect mode.

Hybrid Ferry and Tour Boats

Hybrid diesel-electric propulsion systems are becoming more popular in passenger vessels for a number of reasons: tour boat owners focus on the environmental aspect, while ferry lines consider the savings on maintenance and fuel consumption. All American Marine in Bellingham, Washington is constructing a 600-passenger, 128-foot hybrid-electric vessel for Red and White Fleet of San Francisco, which is expected to be completed by late spring. Named Enhydra, this will be the first vessel of its type on the west coast and the largest lithium-ion hybrid vessel built in the US.

BAE Systems is the designer and integrator of the HybriDrive propulsion system, comprising a variable speed Cummins QSL9 diesel engine with no reduction gear providing 410-hp at 2,100 rpm, coupled to a control system and AC electric traction motor. Corvus Energy of British Columbia supplied two of its Orca Energy 80-kWh Lithium-ion battery packs for battery-only operation at slow speed and to meet the demand of the vessel's hotel load. At higher speeds, the generator will automatically start and supply power to the shaft motor.

Glosten has completed the design of a new passenger-only hybrid ferry for Kitsap Transit, in Bremerton, Washington. The new hybrid electric 150-passenger ferry will be the first in Puget Sound, and is expected to carry more than 350,000 passengers annually across Sinclair Inlet to Port Orchard. The 70-foot-long aluminum hull catamaran will be also constructed at All American Marine. It will feature two BAE HybriDrive diesel-electric propulsion systems driving fixed pitch propellers.

All Electric Ferries

Short-run ferry operators are exploring the possibility of the pure electric drive with plug-in charging from the electric grid at their terminals. The availability of heavy-duty lightweight lithium-ion battery banks – on board for silent running and on shore for fast re-charging – increase the number of options and are already in use in Norway.

Glosten of Seattle has completed a preliminary design study for Skagit County in northern Puget Sound on the 3/4-mile route from Anacortes to Guemes Island. They concluded that an all-electric propulsion system for a new concept vessel is highly feasible. However, shoreside charging infrastructure adds $6-9 million in capital cost.


Clean-burning liquid natural gas (LNG) reduces Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions by about 90 percent while Sulphur Oxide (SOx) and particulates emissions are negligible. LNG engines also reduce CO2 emissions by 25 to 30 percent in general, compared to diesel or heavy fuel oil. LNG is steadily making inroads as naval architects and classification societies develop more experience and awareness of the super-cooled fuel's potential.

Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, BC has a world-wide reputation for innovation. Several of the company's recent tug designs are notable for pioneering LNG-fueled applications. Three Robert Allan-designed dual-fuel, "extreme escort tugs" built by Astilleros Gondán S.A. of Spain for service in northern Norway with Østensjø Rederi set a new standard as both ASD escort tugs for LNG ships and as LNG-powered berthing tugs. They are powered by two Wärtsilä 6L34DF Dual Fuel main engines with a rating of 3,000 kW at 750 rpm turning a Schottel SRP 3030 CP with 3.40 meter controllable pitch propellers in a new VarioDuct nozzle for exceptionally high escort steering and braking forces.

The gas fuel installation consists of a Wärtsilä "LNG Pac" IMO-Type C vacuum-insulated LNG tank with a pressure build-up evaporator, a main gas evaporator and the gas valve unit for each engine. The tank hold is designated as a non-hazardous space accessed from the engine room by means of an A-60 rated watertight door. The tank connection space is accessed from within the tank hold by an air lock.

The RAstar 4000-DF is capable of a free running speed of more than 15 knots and has been BV approved for a rated 167 tons indirect steering, and more than 200 tons braking at 10 knots. To achieve this, Allan verified the predictions through extensive self-propelled model testing at the Vienna Model Basin.

LNG Power for Cargo Ships

New statistics published by DNV GL show more than 100 LNG-powered vessels on order with 112 already in service on all oceans. More than half are under Norwegian owners; the USA has 12. Two of these are the Marlin-class TOTE ships – the first container ships in the world to be powered by LNG. They were built at the General Dynamics NASSCO Shipyard in San Diego and delivered in late 2015 and early 2016. They operate between Jacksonville, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico with bunker fueling in Jacksonville, Florida by truck. Barge-to-ship LNG bunkering operations are scheduled to commence in early 2018.

TOTE Maritime Alaska has also contracted with MAN PrimeServ – MAN Diesel & Turbo's after-sales division – to convert its 839-foot North Star and Midnight Sun to dual-fuel operation on liquefied natural gas (LNG). The roll on/roll off ships are currently both powered by 4 MAN 58/64 engines and run between Anchorage, Alaska and Tacoma, Washington. The contract covers the design, development and testing of a first-of-its-kind dual-fuel kit, which will serve as foundation for the largest LNG conversion in North America.

The company has completed the first of four conversion periods for the North Star, which returned to service in February after being outfitted with two LNG tanks immediately behind the ship's bridge.

In addition to the LNG tanks and accompanying infrastructure, the ship received critical engine updates necessary to utilize LNG as a fuel and underwent a standard regulatory dry-dock.

Over the next four years, three more conversion periods will be required to finalize the transition of the two vessels to LNG. Each of these conversion periods will take place in the winter to minimize the impact to customers and consumers alike. The conversion of both ships is scheduled to be complete by early 2021.

"TOTE Maritime Alaska is excited to convert its fleet to LNG power which will result in a significant reduction in air emissions including particulate matter, sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx). This significant investment of time and money is a reflection of our commitment to the environment, our customers and the state of Alaska" noted Michael Noone, President of TOTE Maritime Alaska.

Dr. Thomas Spindler, head of upgrades and retrofits at MAN PrimeServ Augsburg, explained: "The investment will be of huge benefit to the customer on several fronts: not only will the retrofitted engines meet all new emission standards; the new components they receive during conversion will significantly extend their working life."

"We have been investigating and testing many options for shifting the fleet to LNG. The conversion of the existing engines is the most reliable and beneficial solution" said Peter Keller, Executive Vice President of TOTE. "This innovative solution that has been developed in partnership with MAN, will be an important milestone for the industry as we all prepare for the IMO sulphur cap in 2020."

TOTE plans to refuel at a liquefied natural gas facility that Puget Sound Energy is building at the Port of Tacoma. However, environmental activists and the Puyallup Tribe continue to fight the plant on Tacoma's Tideflats. In January, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency announced it would hire a consultant to do an in-depth analysis of the life cycle of greenhouse-gas emissions that would be caused by the proposed 8-million gallon plant. A PSE spokesman, said the company still expects the LNG plant to start operating in late 2019.

On the East Coast of Florida, Wärtsilä will provide products and solutions for an ATB tank barge to supply LNG fuel to cruise ships. The 4,000 cubic meter-capacity ATB is being built at the VT Halter Marine (VTHM) Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

LNG Ferries in BC

In the past nine months, BC Ferries, a publicly-owned corporation, has taken delivery of three intermediate class dual-fuel ferries – Salish Eagle, Salish Orca and Salish Raven. They were built at Remontowa Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland with a capacity of 145 vehicles and 600 passengers and run on 100 percent LNG supplied by truck from the gas supplier Fortis BC.

Last fall, BC Ferries sent its biggest ferry, Spirit of British Columbia, on the 42-day voyage to Poland for a conversion to LNG/low sulphur diesel oil as part of its planned mid-life upgrade. It is expected back in service next spring. The second Spirit class ship will undergo the same upgrade next winter.

Also in BC, Corvus Energy continues to supply numerous international customers with its lithium-ion battery packs, including two offshore platform supply vessels, and the world's first "hybrid fish farm processing and transport vessel."

International News

Lloyd's Register Released 'Zero-Emission Vessels 2030' in December 2017. This study aims to demonstrate the viability of what it calls "zero-emission vessels" (ZEVs) – identifying what needs to be in place to make them a competitive solution for "de-carbonization."

Nichols Brothers is building a 100-foot by 40-foot hybrid tug for BayDelta to a tested Jensen design, but with a Rolls Royce hybrid system. Artwork courtesy of Jensen.

The first milestone in the IMO greenhouse gas (GHG) Roadmap is approaching: MEPC 72 in April 2018. The world is watching to see if an ambitious reduction strategy in line with the Paris Agreement can be delivered. To achieve this ambition, ZEVs will need to be entering the fleet in 2030 and form a significant proportion of newbuilds from then on.

The report assesses seven technology options for ZEVs: various combinations of battery, synthetic fuels and biofuel for the onboard storage of energy, coupled with either a fuel cell and motor, internal combustion engine; or a motor for the conversion of that energy store into the mechanical and electrical energy required for propulsion and auxiliary services.

The costs of some of the components considered: fuel cells, batteries and hydrogen storage could all reduce significantly, it says, especially if they become important components of another sector's decarbonization, or if action taken during shipping's transition assists with the technology's development.


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