Industry’s first: Wärtsilä installs hybrid solution onboard bulk carrier

The technology group Wärtsilä has completed what is known as the maritime industry’s first installation and commissioning of a hybrid power system combined with a PV solar energy system onboard a bulk carrier vessel.

Paolo Topic (Courtesy of Wärtsilä)

Announced in 2019, the installation was carried out on the 2016-built bulk carrier M/V Paolo Topic in cooperation with marine solar panels manufacturer Solbian and the vessel’s operator Marfin Management S.A.M.

With the fully integrated Wärtsilä HY Module solution which includes an energy management system (EMS) and batteries that deliver auxiliary power to the grid, Paolo Topic is set to become one of the most technologically advanced vessels of its type in the global fleet.

As described, the benefits of the solution are enhanced when coupled with other sources of energy such as PV panels.

The HY Module is expected to address the marine sector’s major challenges and lower operating costs while reducing environmental impact at the same time.

“The solution achieves this through significant reductions in fuel consumption and maintenance needs while offering cleaner, safer, and more efficient operations. It also contributes to placing the vessel in a positive position regarding the industry’s Energy Efficiency Existing Ship (EEXI) and Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) indexes”, Wärtsilä explained.

The containerised solution was placed on the ship’s deck to save space and was installed without the need for dry-docking.

“This installation represents a truly significant breakthrough in enabling the bulker fleet to increase both its economic competitiveness and environmental performance. The decarbonisation of shipping is a major priority for stakeholders throughout the maritime sector, and this unique solution helps us take a long step towards reaching this goal”, says Giulio Tirelli, director of business development at Wärtsilä Marine Power.

Marfin Management’s CEO Alex Albertini added that this represents an exciting development that will lead the way to a more sustainable future.

“We will be able to provide our customers and partners with the most advanced vessel performance and environmental quality, and it is without compromising operational effectiveness or flexibility. We would like to thank all our partners who worked on the project for this highly innovative and effective solution”, said Albertini.

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