Working 16 hours a day, even at weekends, the ferry Bremerhaven has been taking vehicles and passengers across the River Weser for 20 years. Each year, it puts in 6,500 operating hours ferrying around 900,000 passengers back and forth between Bremerhaven and Blexen. This November, it is to be fitted with two new MTU Series 4000 engines fueled by synthetically produced GTL diesel (gas-to-liquid).
Its sister-ship Nordenham is already using GTL. Obtained from natural gas, this more environmentally friendly fuel contains fewer carbon compounds and has more oxygen enrichment than conventional diesel, with less CO2 released during the combustion process. “That's a big plus for local emissions. Moreover, the exhaust gases no longer contain any particulate, giving us a better overall environmental footprint,” explained Jörg Stelter, COO of ferry operator Weserfähre GmbH. Fuel consumption is the same as with normal diesel derived from crude oil. Switching between these fuels does not require any engine modifications. “The maintenance requirements of these propulsion systems is potentially lower because GTL burns more cleanly. Given the number of operating hours, this is an economical argument as a well as an ecological one,” explained MTU sales engineer Christian Prinz.
Each of the new 8V4000M53 engines will deliver 850 kW of power, ensuring the roll-on roll-off ferry continues to master the challenges of continuous operation in everyday life. The ship is also to be equipped with MTU's Blue Vision New Generation Advanced automation system, which guarantees smooth operation of the propulsion system. MTU products have been in operation on the ferry since it was built in 1999. “Both the first and the second-generation Series 4000 engines performed with flying colors. That's why we chose MTU this time too,” said Stelter.
As well as being a passenger and car ferry, the Bremerhaven also doubles up as a fire-fighting vessel between the ports of Bremerhaven and Brake, and has been fitted since 2007 with a water cannon installed in its lifting mast, enabling it to fight fire on the water. When running flat-out on fire-fighting duties, the MTU engines respond quickly and dynamically thanks to their high torque and intelligent control systems, ensuring high maneuverability.