The jury of the Ship of the Year Award 2023, (formerly the KNVTS Ship of the Year Award) has nominated three ships for the “Ship of the Year Award 2023. The ship that wins the prestigious award is literally and figuratively the figurehead of Dutch shipbuilding. The award will be presented at the Maritime Awards Gala on November 6 in AHOY, Rotterdam.
This year, the race to the award will be between the RSD-E-Tug Sparky (Damen Shipyards), the Canopée (Neptune Marine) and the E-Pusher 1 (Padmos).
The Sparky was developed on its own initiative and built by Damen Shipyards. Ports of Auckland presented itself as a customer. The requirements for the vessel were high. The tug had to be completely emission-free with a minimum of two assists for docking and mooring per day. The minimum bollard pull had to be 70 tons.
An all-electric propulsion system was chosen with LTO (Lithium Titanate Oxide) type rechargeable batteries as energy source. The applied battery consists of a total of 2,240 modules with a combined capacity of 2,782 kWh. The battery can be fully charged in one and a half to two hours via two fast charging stations on shore, making it possible to fully recharge between two assists. The SB and BB propulsion systems are completely separate, including their associated switchboards, to increase system redundancy. For added safety, the battery bank is divided into four completely separate rooms. Given the vessel’s dimensions, LOA 24.73 m and width 13.13 m, the choice of electric propulsion was a challenge. In addition to the extensive electrical installations, two diesel generators, each with an output of 940 ekW, had to be installed for backup in emergencies and during extended standby time.
In addition to fulfilling the requirements of Ports of Auckland, flexibility in the system has been taken into account in the design, allowing the propulsion system to be easily scaled up or down for subsequent builds of this ship type. This makes the concept very suitable for series construction. Meanwhile, six tugs of this type are being built at a Damen yard in Vietnam. To be sure that all installations will work properly during commissioning, HIL (Hardware in Loop) tests were performed on the main systems in the Netherlands.
The Sparky has been sailing under the flag of New Zealand in the port of Auckland since July 2022.
The Canopée is an open top RoRo vessel designed to transport components and fuel for Arian rockets from France to French Guiana. The vessel has an overall length of 121 meters, a beam of 22 meters, a design draught of 4.3 meters and a design speed of 16.5 knots.
The ship replaces two 115 x 20 m vessels now performing the same tasks and, partly because of this, must meet a multitude of sometimes conflicting requirements within very limited main dimensions, leading to a complex design challenge. Because the vessel must navigate up a river in French Guiana, the maximum draft there is only 3.8 meters. The light, bulky cargo to be carried also requires a lot of deck area within limited main dimensions. This results in a bulky, wide, shallow vessel. However, the cargo requires low acceleration while the intended sailing schedule requires high speed.
To achieve the target speed in an efficient manner, a unique hull shape was developed and the vessel is equipped with auxiliary propulsion by means of four Oceanwings wingsails, which, based on a sailing schedule of one roundtrip per month during the crossing, should yield fuel savings of about 18%. It is a twin-screw vessel with a praam-shaped stern. Instead of traditional shaft lines with outriggers, a hull shape with two nacelles was chosen. These are asymmetrical and therefore improve the wake field, provide course stability when sailing, increase deplacement and provide space for the placement of the propulsion train which benefits the length of the bilge.
The E-pusher Type M is the first in a series of modular and scalable electrically powered pushboats, a very innovative concept that takes its own approach to sustainability in inland navigation. Padmos has been commissioned by KOTUG to make the entire design of the first one and also to build it. The design is extensively modular, allowing parts to be produced completely in parallel and then assembled. The total production process is thus accelerated, more manageable and more affordable.
An additional advantage is that the performance and functionalities of the pusher craft can also be easily adapted to changing applications or specifications, for example by changing energy sources.
The combination of a polyethylene float with a steel frame and electric propulsion is unprecedented in shipbuilding. The HDPE float makes the design much lighter, giving the vessel a lower displacement and shallower draft, resulting in lower energy consumption when the vessel is sailing free (without barges) and more suitable for lower water levels. Moreover, within the same hull volume, this material has a significantly lower CO2 footprint during construction. An additional advantage is that no antifouling needs to be applied. To ensure the leak stability of the vessel, each HDPE module is composed of 3 compartments so that the 6 floats form a total of 18 compartments. The HDPE modules only provide buoyancy, the strength is provided by the steel frame, on which the electric propellers, battery container and accommodation module are placed. The battery container is equipped with solar panels and can be charged via 2 normal 125A AC plugs, but can also be exchanged if a shore facility with container crane is available.
The E-Pusher 1 is 100% electric, but due to its modular concept it has the unique ability to choose the most optimal energy source on the route, ranging from fossil, hybrid and full electric power, to hydrogen.
In summary, all three ships are paragons of innovative strength, customization, sustainability and boldness in Dutch shipbuilding.