Ponant: the most advanced ship to date – Cruise Industry News
Ponant’s new Le Commandant Charcot joined the fleet at the end of July, the culmination of a six-year design, development and shipbuilding process for an advanced prototype vessel running on hybrid propulsion with LNG and battery.
“When we started this project, we wanted the fuel that had the least impact on the environment,” said Mathieu Petiteau, director of new construction, research and development.
According to Petiteau, LNG was not enough.
“We knew that LNG engines are not as responsive when more power is needed quickly. There are a lot of ships that then come back to MGO to maneuver in port, ”he said. “It was something we didn’t want. The idea is to run on LNG as much as possible, even during maneuvers, so we have added an energy storage system on board.
This is made up of additional power in the form of 4.5 MW of lithium-ion batteries which have a lifespan of 10 years.
“With this amount of energy, we can run on LNG all the time,” explained Petiteau, calling the combination of Wartsila bi-fuel engines running on LNG and world-first batteries.
LNG for propulsion, battery power and extreme conditions in the polar regions involved a significant amount of adjustment of the power management system.
“In total, we spent 40 days of sea trials, in different conditions, all to set up the propulsion system,” explains Petiteau.
Beginning in the spring, shipbuilder VARD and Ponant carried out five rounds of sea trials. Four off the Norwegian fjords and one in the ice of northeast Greenland, putting the ship to the test in extreme conditions. and configuring a power management system for the motors and supplemental battery power.
Choosing between type C and membrane tanks, Ponant opted for the latter, even if they are normally used for LNG carriers.
The reason was simple, said Petiteau, the ship needed a significant LNG storage capacity.
“We are going far north, far south and off any road where we can easily get LNG,” he said. “We needed as much LNG as possible on board.
The tanks allow it, the company planning eight bunkers per year. The 245-passenger vessel is expected to be able to run on LNG for up to 60 days between bunkers.
Zero emission mode
The batteries will primarily be used to supplement engine power and help engines run at optimum load with additional battery power.
Instead of starting another engine to run at a low, inefficient load, the batteries will add the necessary power. It also removes the wear and tear from starting another powertrain.
A zero-emission mode for Commander Charcot will allow the vessel to operate on battery power alone, with the engines off, the hotel load reduced and the motors of fans and other noisy devices turned off or off, allowing quiet operation for a few hours, said Petiteau.
A central heating system uses all the extra heat generated by the engines to produce steam, which in turn produces hot water which is used throughout the vessel.
The reverse osmosis box provides most of the vessel’s fresh water production. Sailing in cooler waters, however, means the ship has to heat the incoming water for the osmosis plant.
Excerpt from the Cruise Industry News quarterly magazine: Fall 2021