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Century-old tall ship to be retrofitted with hybrid-electric propulsion system

Rolls-Royce has announced that it will install a hybrid power system on board 104-year-old Norwegian sail-training ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl, while Norwegian state-owned company Enova will provide more than US$520,000 in financial support to equip the historic square rigger with shipboard battery power.

The ship is also being made ready to receive onshore power to recharge the batteries, ensuring zero emissions in the ports the ship visits, including at its home port of Bergen, Norway. The vessel is currently in dry dock in Bergen, where a special battery room is being built. Due to the ship’s sailing schedule, the project will not be completed until November 2018 at the earliest.

Haakon Vatle, executive director of the Statsraad Lehmkuhl Foundation, said: “The Statsraad Lehmkuhl has been relatively environmentally friendly for over a century already. After all, for large parts of the year, wind power provides all the propulsion it needs. We are now going to make its next 100 years even more environmentally friendly. We hope the vessel will become a role model for other sailing ships and vessels of all types.”

The vessel currently uses diesel generators to power shipboard systems, and for propulsion if necessary. Once installed, the battery system will assist in both areas, thereby reducing the number of generators that need to be kept running. The battery system will also allow the power of the wind in the ship’s sails to be exploited.

According to Andreas Seth, senior vice president – electrical, automation and control, Rolls-Royce, the ship’s propeller can also be used to generate electricity, similar to a wind turbine. He said, “The amount of electricity produced will vary with the speed of the ship, but with our system the energy can be stored in batteries for use as environmentally friendly engine power, or for day-to-day shipboard operations such as heating and cooking.”

Enova, which works to facilitate Norway’s transition to a low-emissions society, views the Statsraad Lehmkuhl as an important showcase for this new technology. “The Statsraad Lehmkuhl plays an important role in the training of the Norwegian Naval Academy’s cadets, as well as the further education of apprentices and those undertaking vocational training to become licensed seamen and marine engineers,” said Nils Kristian Nakstad, managing director, Enova. “Soon the ship will give the next generation of mariners early experience of this new technology. It will help to build knowledge about, and positive attitudes towards, battery solutions that will stand them in good stead later in their careers.”



- March 2018

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