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Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL)
– asset owner for CalMac Ferries Limited

38% fuel savings and emission reductions

The project

At present, 98% of sea-going vessels are diesel powered. As one of the first corporations thinking differently, CMAL has taken an increasing interest in new technologies that will allow them to cut their fuel bills and reduce the environmental impact of their operations. CMAL carried out an extensive investigation into such technologies before launching their three new roll-on, roll-off (RORO) vehicle and passenger ferries.

The solution

CMAL completed detailed fuel calculations for all options. Engine load at speed, engine load while maneuvering and engine load in port were all considered. The results showed only marginal fuel savings for diesel electric, but predicted at least 20% fuel saving for systems with batteries. A diesel-electric hybrid propulsion, with an integrated battery system on the DC link, was chosen as it was easier to implement and more cost effective. The propulsion system is based on Danfoss Drives technology (VACON® NXP liquid-cooled series).

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We are convinced that the future of ferries lies with electric hybrid technology. We will certainly look at hybrid technology in any further new small vessels or upgrading existing vessels. And, of course, it depends for its success on the use of reliable, efficient and well-engineered drives for hybrid systems, which, as it happens, is a very good description of VACON® NXP. We chose Danfoss drives because they're compact, reliable, robust and offer excellent performance.

John Salton, Fleet Manager and Project Director, CMAL

The result

The three new ferries use a proven 38% less fuel than conventional vessels and emissions are reduced by a similar amount. The anticipated reduction in CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the vessel is 5,500 tonnes, with corresponding reductions in sulfur and NOx emissions. Other benefits include redundancy due to the possibility of battery-electric-only operation, and reduced engine maintenance requirements thanks to lower engine usage.

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less fuel than conventional vessels

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