STORY Commercial Marine

New heart and brain for Spanish high-speed ferry

Posted on November 08, 2021 by Katrin Auernhammer, Images by Belaria; Rolls-Royce Power Systems

A complete solution package for the Avemar Dos high-speed ferry run by Spanish ferry operator Balearia brings the vessel to a new level in terms of environmental and climate friendliness.
Denia, Spain
Complete solution package for the Avemar Dos high-speed ferry run by Spanish ferry operator Balearia. The Rolls-Royce supply scope covers four new Series 1163 units, state-of-the-art mtu ship
automation, and a data logger for round-the-clock digital vessel monitoring – all of which bring the vessel to a new level in terms of environmental and climate friendliness.  

In the spring of this year, the 82-m Avemar Dos high-speed ferry underwent a major operation: the propulsion system, the heart of the ferry, was replaced. It also received a new brain with mtu ship
automation in the latest version and the mtu Go digital remote platform as a new kind of nerve center. Rejuvenated by its new organs, the ferry is well and truly fit for the future.  

The intervention, however, was by no means straightforward: In Navantia's shipyard in Cadiz, the shipbuilders had to make a breach on both sides of the hull, through each of which twin engines, over 5m long and 3m in height, had to be moved. “We had to open both sides of the hull because the ferry has two engine rooms,” explained Justo Galán Díaz from Rolls-Royce Solutions Iberica, the Spanish subsidiary of Rolls-Royce Power Systems based on the Iberian peninsula. The mechanics unplugged all engine lines and connections and placed the engines on rails in the engine rooms. The 24-ton 1163 units were pulled along the rails and out of the vessel and positioned crosswise on a provisional platform arranged at the side of the hull. They were then craned one-by-one onto land and their successors moved in and installed. No other way was possible for the Rolls-Royce engineers to replace the mtu 20V 1163 TB73L engines with new 20V 1163 M84 units.  

Four new-generation mtu 20V1163 M84 units replaced the previous 1163 units, taking the vessel to a new level of ecological soundess. Fuel consumption – and with it CO2 emissions – are 8% lower than with the previous propulsion system.

The new mtu 1163 generation features an array of impressive innovations that serve to protect both environment and climate: Fitted with new injection and combustion technology, the engines consume some 8% less fuel, resulting in a corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions. They also generate 33% less NOx and thereby meet the requirements of the IMO Tier II emissions standard. Yet engine output remains undiminished at 6,500 kW at 1,280 rpm. “mtu 1163 units have been successfully deployed in high-speed ferries for over 25 years now and their power-to-weight ratio remains unrivalled on the market. With the engineering improvements now incorporated into the new M04 generation, these units are absolutely future-proof,” said Phil Kordic from marine propulsion sales at Rolls-Royce.

Building a new engine generation also meant upgrading the MCS-5 automation system that had hitherto been used. “The MCS-5 system was no longer compatible with the new engines, which is why we decided to update it on the basis of our latest automation system. The advantage of the
mtu ship automation for the customer is that it not only monitors the propulsion system and gearbox, but other ship-side systems such as fuel tanks and on-board electrical generator sets, all of which are integrated for monitoring and control from the bridge,” said Phil Kordic. The digital platform  mtu Go provides operator Balearia with access to further operating data transmitted to shore. “Here the customer gains insight not only into the position of the vessel and the operating status of the engines. Load profile and runtime data enable pre-planning of the next maintenance action,” explained Justo Galán Díaz.  

The Avemar Dos repowering project lasted just short of twelve weeks. “Technically, the project went without hitches. Our biggest challenge was the more complex planning demanded by the Covid-19
pandemic, and we had to invest a little more time there,” said Pablo Vivancos, sales director at Rolls-Royce Solutions Iberica. In early June, the Avemar Dos returned to service, and now shuttles from Denia on the Spanish mainland to the Balearic island of Ibiza, then to Mallorca, and back. It has room for 855 passengers and 174 vehicles.

Other actions performed by Rolls-Royce Solutions Iberica in recent years include repowering of Balearia's Ramon Lull ferry and overhauling the engines of the Nixe high-speed ferry. mtu Value Care Agreements (VCAs) cover support and servicing of all these vessels, which are also all linked up to the  mtu Go digital platform.


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