Wärtsilä tech ordered for SAL's Orca Class newbuilds

Wärtsilä tech ordered for SAL’s Orca Class newbuilds

Orca Class vesselWärtsilä

Finnish technology group Wärtsilä has been selected as the hybrid propulsion system supplier for the Orca Class heavy lift vessels being built at the Wuhu Shipyard in China. The vessels are being built for the SAL Heavy Lift and Jumbo Shipping partnership. The order includes an option for an additional two vessels. 

Wärtsilä’s hybrid system will minimise the ships’ CO2 emissions, thus supporting the marine sector’s decarbonisation ambitions. The system will feature a variable-speed Wärtsilä 32 main engine capable of operating with methanol fuel. This will therefore make these ships among the first to be prepared to operate on methanol, a clean burning sulphur-free alternative to conventional fossil-based marine fuels. They will also be the first methanol capable ships to employ a variable speed main engine.

The hybrid system also includes Energy Storage, a PTO/PTI generator and motor, a multidrive converter, and the Wärtsilä Energy Management System for controlling and optimising the hybrid operations. The Energy Storage system will be based on Lithium-Titanium-Oxide (LTO) batteries, which can handle higher amounts of deep cycles than normal Lithium-Ion based systems. The ESS will significantly reduce the fuel consumption and/or the necessary size of the port’s electric shore connection during crane operations while also providing fuel savings at sea by reducing Engine Load fluctuations in rough seas.

For each vessel, Wärtsilä will also supply the gearbox, the controllable pitch propeller (CPP), the bow and stern thrusters, air shaft seals, as well as the sterntube and bearings.

“These ships represent the next generation in heavy lift shipping. In addition to their technical capabilities, they will feature outstanding environmental performance and help guide shipping towards a greener future,” says Dr Martin Harren, Owner and CEO of SAL Heavy Lift. “We are committed to decarbonising shipping activities, and we wish to thank Wärtsilä for their support and cooperation throughout this project.”

“We are proud to be able to support SAL with Wärtsilä’s market-leading integrated hybrid-mechanical propulsion system. This is a well-proven, future-proofing solution that enables owners and operators to lower operating costs while complying with current and anticipated environmental regulations,” says Matthias Becker, Managing Director of Wärtsilä Germany.

The ships are scheduled for delivery in 2025 and will be used mainly to support wind farm installations.

Author: Adnan Bajic

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