The world’s largest hybrid ship will start traveling between France and England in 2024

Brittany Ferries has announced the Saint-Malo’s arrival, the largest hybrid vessel in the world to be launched in 2024, as per an announcement by the company that was released this week. The vessel’s 639-foot length will include an electric battery that has capacity of 11.5 MWh, roughly twice the typical capacity for hybrid propulsion on marine vessels. It it will be replacing one of company’s older models, which will travel starting from St. Malo, France from St. Malo, France to Portsmouth, England.

Leading the way in much-needed sustainable shipping

“Brittany Ferries is proud to be taking the lead in sustainable shipping, working with our partners to bring cleaner vessels to the regions in which we operate,” said Christophe Mathieu, the CEO of Brittany Ferries.

“Hybrid technology is advancing the fleet renewal process forward. It will follow the launch of two LNG-powered vessels. Since the first day of operation ports such as St Malo in France and Portsmouth in the UK will be able to benefit. Power from the shore means that more advantages will be realized when investment by ports in plug-in infrastructure is possible.”

Saint-Malo will be equipped with several systems that allow real-time energy optimization during sailing, which will improve efficiency and provide an easier ride. The boat will also be equipped with features to help to make it more environmentally sustainable.

Features like enhanced efficiency in energy use such as hybrid power, a hybrid engine, and shore-side plug-ins can result in an increase of as much as 15 percent in greenhouse gas emissions when compared to diesel engines, according to the manufacturer of the ship’s engine and batteries, expert in marine Wartsila.

The marine expert together with the ship maker StenaRoRo and StenaRoRo, is also working on the second hybrid vessel in the name of Brittany Ferries. Two new hybrids are expected to be replacing Bretagne and Normandie as well as two of the most long-running ships for the company.

Decarbonizing entire fleets

“Stena wants to be a frontrunner in decarbonizing our fleet and, together with our partners, pushing developments towards zero-emission operations,” said Per Westling, MD StenaRoRo. “Hybridisation allows our vessels to be highly flexible as we adapt to future technology developments, including green fuels, fuel cells, bigger batteries, and solar or wind supported propulsion.”

Wartsila is also commissioned to supply propellers and gearboxes for hybrid ships.

“This order further strengthens Wartsila’s leadership in the hybrid segment,” said Hakan Agnevall, President and CEO of Wartsila. “The large size of the battery will enable the vessels to function at full power with propellors that can be used in conjunction with all thrusters, allowing them to move emission-free into ports and out, even in severe weather conditions. The shore power system built into the vessel can charge the batteries when being berthed.”

Shipping has faced numerous calls to reduce carbon emissions because the huge ships they use are a major emission source. However the massive dimensions and the vast distances they travel has made it difficult to design sustainable solutions for them.

Brittany Ferries’ record-breaking achievement will hopefully inspire other shipping businesses to take the step toward more environmentally-conscious engineering and perhaps replace or upgrade much of their existing carbon-intensive fleets.