Europe's maiden inland ferry, the Richmond, equipped with mtu Series 4000 gas engines, now navigates Lake Constance. Carrying 700 passengers and 64 cars daily, it heralds a new era in ferry propulsion, boasting quieter, emission-compliant, and powerful high-speed gas engines.
In a groundbreaking move, the Richmond ferry becomes the pioneering inland vessel worldwide powered exclusively by high-speed gas engines. These two eight-cylinder mtu Series 4000 engines, each delivering 746 kilowatts, operate with reduced noise and vibrations, meeting stringent emission regulations without exhaust gas treatment.
The ferry's propulsion system, incorporating a multipoint gas injection and turbocharging, ensures dynamic acceleration and reserves ample power for challenging maneuvers across various speed ranges.
As part of future plans, the ferry operator aspires to transition to bio-liquified natural gas (LNG), aiming for complete climate neutrality in operations.
Transitioning to these innovative engines has been a seamless experience for the onboard crew, with familiarization and support from the Rolls-Royce team, facilitating a smooth integration of the new propulsion system.
The knowledge exchange between crew members, like Timo Bakaric and Dieter Ehinger, who have visited operational ferries in the Netherlands, has been pivotal in optimizing the new system's setup and functionality.
Detailing the intricate gas propulsion system aboard, the engines operate using LNG stored in tanks, maintaining it at minus 160 degrees Celsius to retain its liquid state. The Gas Processing Unit (GPU) and Gas Regulation Units (GRUs) play crucial roles in converting LNG to fuel the engines.
Captain Oli Hermann, steering the ferry, notes the seamless operation, emphasizing the engine's smoothness, regardless of the propulsion system—be it diesel or gas.
The introduction of high-speed mtu gas engines on the Richmond ferry represents a leap forward in ferry propulsion technology. Beyond meeting stringent emissions standards, these engines promise quieter operations and dynamic performance, setting a precedent for sustainable and efficient inland waterway transportation.