BERG Propulsion Inks Contract for Wind-Assisted Airbus Ro-Ro Vessels

(Image credit: BERG Propulsion)

BERG Propulsion has won a contract covering the hybrid propulsion solution that ensure three wind-assisted Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) ro-ro vessels will maximize efficiency regardless of their mode of operation.

Following delivery by China’s Wuchang Shipbuilding from 2026 onwards, the innovative vessels will carry Airbus A320 Family jetliner subassemblies from France (Saint-Nazaire) to the final assembly line in the United States (Mobile, Alabama). The ships have been designed by Deltamarin with the aim of halving fuel burn and CO2 emissions in transatlantic operations by 2030 compared to a 2023 baseline.

Wind power drawn from six Flettner rotor-sails on each ship’s deck will make a strong contribution to reduced emissions, with weather routing optimization software also in place to maximize wind-assisted time and minimize drag. In conventional mode, the ships will run on dual fuel methanol engines.

Optimizing propulsion performance at all times will rely on integrated power management and propulsion systems from BERG. LDA has specified the supplier’s extensive engine-agnostic propulsion package for newbuild ships. As well as the complete propulsion train to work with each ship’s main engines, BERG is supplying state-of-the-art controllable pitch propellers with feathering capability.

Arthur Barret, Head of Engineering, Project & Innovation Department, LDA, commented: “At LDA, our ambition is to lead the maritime industry through its energy transition. We must ensure that the solutions supporting our vision are the smartest available and that we can rely on our technology partners throughout a ship’s lifetime. BERG’s integrated propulsion system enables us to minimize fuel consumption and emissions.”

Amrita Singh, Account Manager, BERG Propulsion, explained that the BERG hybrid solution allows main engines and electric motors to drive propulsion either independently or simultaneously so that the most efficient power option is used as a vessel’s operational needs change.

“The system works with alternative power sources, including wind,” said Singh. “It’s key when integrating sails that they work seamlessly with propulsion controls so that adjustments can be made to thrust in any given weather and sea condition. In BERG’s solution, Dynamic Drive is integrated into the MPC800 control system, which delivers this capability without the operational complexity of additional hardware.”

“The propulsion package includes a range of ‘modes’, whose selection optimizes performance across the ship’s various operational requirements,” added Mattias Dombrowe, Business Manager—Electrical System Integration, BERG Propulsion. “As well as mechanical with PTO or electric modes, propellers also operate in boost mode to achieve full speed when required. When the rotor sails are in service, one or both of the propellers can be feathered to optimize wind-assisted operations.”

Crew continuously optimize efficiency using the flexibility available to the propulsion control unit, rather than being limited by the predetermined relationships between engine load and specific fuel oil consumption, said Dombrowe.

Integration had also been a feature of the way BERG teams worked with CSSC yard Wuchang Shipbuilding to satisfy owner expectations, according to Wei Jun Zhang, Account Manager BERG Shanghai. “Working alongside Wuchang Shipbuilding has been an absolute pleasure, allowing us to showcase the competency, capacity, and capabilities that BERG has to maximize the performance of these innovative ships.”

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