In addition to her other efficient engineering features, she will soon have installed a battery pack to allow hybrid operation, much like a hybrid atomobile (or Foss' Hybrid Tugs: http://www.foss.com/environment_hybridtug.html)
According to Bjørn-Johan Vartdal, DNV’s project manager, “We know that the hybrid system will reduce the energy consumption. When operating, for example, on dynamic positioning, there will be a major fuel saving potential. When in harbour, too, the ship should be able to operate on the fuel cell and its battery power alone, which will reduce emissions significantly. For environmentally sensitive areas, this will be an essential benefit. Additional benefits are related to reductions in machinery maintenance costs and in noise and vibrations.”
This is all great stuff, but I think the key to selling it to the industry in general is the reduced fuel consumption. Because of today's high fuel costs, Return On Investment for VIKING LADY's hybrid installation is calculated to be less than two years! After that, Eidesvik's baby will not only be remarkably clean environmentally, but will be saving her owners a pretty penny - 20% to 30% - on fuel costs. As project manager Vartdal noted, there should be significant savings on maintenance, too. Impressive.
One of the grumblings you're liable to hear about environmentally-friendly initiatives is that they're too expensive and not suitable to the present financially-constrained business climate. But here's one I think can be firmly presented as a money-saver. A two-year ROI is shorter than many other upgrades, and a company running a fleet of vessels like this should have a competitive advantage in lower energy costs and longer working time between overhauls. That's sound business sense.
DNV is heading project FellowSHIP, comprising DNV, Eidesvik, and Wartsila. The earlier installation of the fuel cell was also part of the FellowSHIP project. Going ahead, the project will carefully measure the hybrid system's energy-saving potential, and the hybrid system will be modeled in detail. DNV is using the project to develop class rules for battery-powered ships.
Click on the photo above to go to the DNV story for more details. Well worth a read!
I've never been able to work with a powerplant like this. Have you? Can you tell us what your experience has been? Have an opinion? Please respond with a comment!