New Lake Constance ferry with mtu gas engines from Rolls-Royce at the start

Posted on June 22, 2023

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  • “FS Richmond” - Europe's first inland ferry powered by pure gas engines
  • Rolls-Royce has mtu gas engine orders for propulsion and auxiliary power for 11 ships
  • Clean sailing: engine emissions well below IMO limits

Full steam ahead for the new passenger and car ferry of Stadtwerke Konstanz: the recently christened 82.5-meter long "Richmond" is now out on test runs on Lake Constance. Sufficient power is provided by two 8-cylinder mtu gas engines of the Series 4000 from Rolls-Royce, each with an output of 746 kilowatts, driving Voith-Schneider propellers. Here, too, the special advantages of the new mtu propulsion system are already apparent: it is quiet, clean and causes hardly any vibrations.

First European inland ferry powered by pure gas engines

The ferry ‘Richmond’ is the first European inland ferry equipped with pure gas engines. It has room for 700 passengers and 64 cars. The other five ferries operated by Stadtwerke Konstanz, which shuttle between Meersburg and Konstanz around the clock, are powered by mtu diesel engines. One visible difference is the eight-meter-high ventilation mast that is part of the LNG ferry’s safety equipment. Christoph Witte, technical manager of the Stadtwerke Konstanz ferries, said: "In addition, the ship’s hull has been optimized to reduce the ship’s drag so that less energy has to be used for propulsion.”

mtu gas engines below IMO emission limits without exhaust gas aftertreatment

The first test runs with the mtu gas engines have delighted those responsible at the shipping company: “The engines have a particularly smooth-running culture and purr quietly like a kitten,” said shipyard manager Dieter Ehinger. The new propulsion system for tugs, ferries, push boats and special ships undercuts the nitrogen oxide  limits of the current IMO III emissions directive even without exhaust gas aftertreatment, and the particulate mass is below the detection limit. Denise Kurtulus, Vice President Global Marine at Rolls-Royce Power Systems, explained: “We are proud that Stadtwerke Konstanz has also chosen mtu engines for its latest ferry. We wish the shipping company a safe journey at all times and thank them for decades of intensive cooperation.”

Also on the protected Dutch Wadden Sea: quiet, without vibrations and clean

On the North Sea in the Wadden Sea nature reserve, two catamarans from the Doeksen shipping company have already been operating reliably with new 16-cylinder mtu gas engines since 2021. Here, too, there was great enthusiasm among operators and passengers: the gas engines are particularly quiet, produce no vibrations, no unpleasant odor and no black smoke.

11 ships in Europe and Singapore with mtu gas engines

The business unit Power Systems of Rolls-Royce has now received orders for mtu gas engines as propulsion systems and on-board power generators for a total of eleven ships in Europe and Singapore. These include ferries, tugs and government vessels. Flensburg University of Applied Sciences is also using the benefits of this engine for an energy transition research project.

Milestone toward clean and low-emission transport solutions

The new ferry was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport. Michael Theurer, Parliamentary State Secretary, said on the occasion of the christening: "This model project, which is funded by the German government to the tune of around 1.8 million euros, is a real milestone in the development of clean and low-emission transport solutions thanks to innovative shipbuilding technology."

About Rolls-Royce Holdings plc

  1. Rolls-Royce develops and delivers complex power and propulsion solutions for safety-critical applications in the air, at sea and on land. Our products and service packages enable our customers to connect people, societies, cultures and economies together; they meet the growing need for power generation across multiple industries; and enable governments to equip their armed forces with the power to protect.
  2. Rolls-Royce has a presence in 48 countries and customers in more than 150, comprising over 250 commercial large aero engine customers, 160 armed forces and navies and approximately 40,000 active Power Systems customers. We are committed to becoming a net zero company by 2050 and we support our customers to do the same.
  3. Annual underlying revenue was £15.4bn in 2023, underlying operating profit was £1.6bn and free cash flow £1.3bn.  
  4. Rolls-Royce Holdings plc is publicly traded company (LSE: RR., ADR: RYCEY, LEI: 213800EC7997ZBLZJH69).
  5. Rolls-Royce Power Systems is headquartered in Friedrichshafen in southern Germany and employs more than 10,500 people. The product portfolio includes mtu-brand high-speed engines and propulsion systems for ships, heavy land, rail and defence vehicles and for the oil and gas industry. The portfolio also includes diesel and gas systems and battery containers for mission critical, standby and continuous power, combined generation of heat and power, and microgrids. With its climate friendly technologies, Rolls-Royce Power Systems is helping to drive the energy transition.


Silke Rockenstein Spokeswoman Trade Media
+49 7541 90 7740