Aasen Shipping Orders World's First Hybrid Self-Discharging Bulkers

Illustration courtesy Aasen Shipping

Published Jan 29, 2020 1:55 PM by The Maritime Executive

In a first for diesel-electric hybrid propulsion, Norwegian shipowner Aasen Shipping has contracted with the technology group Wärtsilä to design and supply hybrid systems for two new 9,000 dwt self-discharging bulkers. These novel vessels will be able to run their deck-mounted excavators on battery power, eliminating the need to run diesel auxiliary equipment in port. 

According to Aasen Shipping, hybrid power will convey multiple benefits for its operations, including: 

- fuel savings of about 400 tons per year;
- peak shaving on main engines, reducing emissions and fuel consumption;
- variable engine RPM (via diesel-electric drive) for lower fuel consumption during slow steaming;
- propulsion and maneuvering in port without the main engine; and
- emissions-free operations in port thanks to the combination of an electric excavator, onboard battery power and a shore power connection. 

To determine whether hybrid power would be useful in this application, Wärtsilä carried out a detailed study for Aasen; it determined that the extra initial investment required for the battery installation would be more than offset by the high level of fuel cost savings.

Each ship will be fitted with a Wärtsilä 26 main engine with gearbox and controllable pitch propeller (CPP), a DC switchboard, a battery pack and a power management system. The equipment is scheduled to be delivered to the Royal Bodewes shipyard in the Netherlands in mid-2021. 

The investment cost for the hybrid installation is partly supported by Enova SF, a Norwegian government enterprise that promotes environmentally-friendly energy solutions.