MAN engines for the passenger ferry, MS Helgoland

MAN Engines for Commercial Shipping

MAN Engines lays the foundation for environmentally friendly propulsion

© MAN Rollo BV

After over a year of successful operation for the MS Helgoland end of 2016, one supplier took stock. MAN Engines played its part in providing modern propulsion for the ferry and delivered three powerful, 12-cylinder gas engines to MAN Rollo. From the MAN E3262 LE222 engines, the Dutch partner created three 480 ekW generator sets, which also play a major role in the LNG propulsion concept (liquefied natural gas) of the MS Helgoland. The environmentally friendly and innovative ferry was launched towards the end of 2015.

The MS Helgoland is the first new ship powered by liquefied natural gas. ©MAN Rollo BV

MAN Rollo delivered the generator sets to the Fassmer shipyard in Berne in northern Germany. It was here that the ferry MS Helgoland was built for the Cassen Eils shipping company. For over a year, the passenger ship has provided an environmentally friendly alternative for the journey between Cuxhaven and the North Sea island, Helgoland. The 83-metre long ferry can carry 1,060 passengers and was built strictly in accordance with the environmental standards of the German Blue Angel certification. This is also the reason why the MS Helgoland is the first newly built ship in Germany to be powered by liquefied natural gas.

The temperature in the supply tank varies between -162°C and -130°C for this technology. The natural gas becomes a liquid at these temperatures, thus reducing the volume of the fuel by a factor of 600. When the liquefied gas enters the gas control system just prior to being used, it is warmed up to approximately 30°C and reverts back to a gaseous state. The most remarkable characteristic of the modern propulsion system is the substantial reduction of pollutant emissions. Specifically, this means that diesel particulates are removed for the most part and NOx and CO2 emissions are significantly reduced.

The innovative passenger ferry with the feel of a cruise ship cost around EUR 30.5 million to build, and received a subsidy from the European Union of EUR 4.175 million due to its environmentally friendly natural gas propulsion system. It is not just the propulsion system that is new to the Cassen Eils shipping company, but also the possibilities the new ship brings with it. The MS Helgoland has its own crane, which can load and transport up to ten 10-foot containers of freight in addition to the passengers.

One of the three generator sets carefully being installed. - Image courtesy of Peter Andryszak.

"Our generator sets serve as auxiliary generators and can also be used to boost power for the main propulsion system," says MAN Rollo Sales Manager Karel Schuurman. "We have used the new factory-developed MAN E3262 LE222 gas engines for the sets, which are perfectly in line with the environmental objectives of the client. They were developed on the basis of the lean-burn combustion process and are 100% gas-powered. The generator sets are also fully compliant with the requirements of the classification society DNV-GL", adds the Sales Manager. The 480 ekW MAN auxiliary generators are not just a source of electricity, but also play a decisive role in the modern propulsion system.

Alongside the auxiliary generators, the propulsion system mainly consists of two dual fuel engines, each with 1,664 kW (2,262 hp). Each unit powers a separate propeller and shaft generator. The generators each provide 350 kW which can either be used for additional power or as an additional drive to support the dual fuel engines. Thanks to these alternatives that can be employed by the ferry, MS Helgoland can rely on different propulsion options. The dual fuel drive can either directly power the propeller shafts via the gearbox using either gas or diesel power, or can draw more power from the shaft generator or from a proportion of the MAN auxiliary gas generators. The MS Helgoland therefore has approximately 5,000 kW (around 6,800 hp) of propulsion power at its disposal. This provides the two-propeller ship with enough power to constantly keep speeds of up to 21 knots (37 km/h). The auxiliary generators provide the ship with the required on-board electricity for the kitchen, hotel operations, nautical and technical instruments and devices, as well as LED lighting and the transverse rudders.

Successful first year

Thanks to the MAN Rollo generator sets, MAN Engines played a major role in the highly successful first year of operation for the MS Helgoland. "The customer is especially pleased with the load response of our engines," says Schuurman.