STORY Commercial Marine

2020 Ship of the Year powered by mtu engines from Rolls-Royce

Posted on October 18, 2019 by Katrin Auernhammer, Images by WETA

San Francisco, United States of America

The first two EPA Tier 4 compliant mtu engines from Rolls-Royce were fitted to catamaran ferry Pyxis in 2017 and went into service on March 1, 2019. American Ship Review has now named the vessel Ship of the Year because it is particularly environmentally friendly thanks to the advanced mtu Series 4000 field test engines with the specially tuned mtu SCR system. Californian operator WETA (Water Emergency Transportation Agency) runs 15 high-speed ferries in the environmentally sensitive San Francisco Bay, transporting around 3 million passengers per year. As well as Pyxis, two other vessels are also earmarked to be fitted with the new mtu propulsion system: Vela entered service in August 2019, and Lyra is due for her refit in spring 2020.  

“We are incredibly proud of this award,” said Denise Kurtulus, Head of Global Marine Sales, adding, “WETA has always demanded very high standards in terms of innovative and environmentally friendly propulsion technology. With this award, we have proven our ability to meet these requirements. There could be no better praise for our engineering team and our advanced Series 4000 marine engine with its new SCR system.”

“Pyxis has been a great addition to WETA’s San Francisco Bay Ferry fleet,” said Nina Rannells, WETA’s Executive Director. “Our ferry routes require high speed, efficient and reliable operation with high capacity vessels that meet the most stringent emission standards in the nation. mtu has delivered this in our Pyxis class vessels. We are thrilled that Pyxis has received this honor from American Ship Review.”

EPA Tier 4: Lower NOx, particulate and hydrocarbon emissions

For each of the three 44 meter catamarans, mtu supplied six 16-cylinder Series 4000 units, six mtu SCR systems and six ZF transmissions. All three vessels are also to be equipped with mtu BlueVision ship automation systems. Each engine will deliver 2,560 kW of power at 1,800 rpm, powering the twin-hulled vessels up to speeds of 34 knots. The ferries are being built by the Dakota Creek Industries shipyard, and as they are destined for service in the San Francisco Bay area, the engines that propel them are expected to meet the EPA Tier 4 emissions standard which came into force in the US on 1 January 2016. This demands substantially lower NOx, particulate and hydrocarbon emissions than was the case with the previous requirements.  

The integrated propulsion system comprising Series 4000 diesel engines with mtu's own SCR exhaust gas aftertreatment system for compliance with IMO III and EPA Tier 4 emissions standards is a major step forward in cutting emissions. Advances in turbocharging, combustion and fuel injection, combined with the new SCR system, have facilitated a 75% reduction in NOx emissions compared to IMO II, and a 65% reduction in particulates compared to EPA Tier 3. There is no need for an additional diesel particulate filter, and fuel consumption is up to 5% lower than that of the engine's predecessor. The power range of the various cylinder configurations is between 1,380 and 3,220 kW.

20 years of teamwork and over 30 engines

Rolls-Royce and the San Francisco Bay ferry operator have been collaborating since 1997, ably assisted by mtu distributor Pacific Power Group. Today, WETA operates its passenger ferries with the aid of over 30 mtu Series 2000 and 4000 engines.  

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