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Friday, December 11, 2020 

Voith has been engaged to supply Swiss ship builder Shiptec with a propulsion system for two hybrid passenger ferries to be operated on Lake Geneva by CGN (Compagnie gnrale de navigation sur le lac Lman).

Each ferry will be driven by two Voith type 1140 Linear Jets (VLJ) that are optimally integrated into the hull to allow a low draught of between 1.4m and 1.6m. Manoeuvring is by two Voith Inline Thrusters (VIT) 550-110 on the bow and two VIT 380-60 on the stern of each ferry. The fully electric transverse thrusters have an integrated electric motor, integrated into the on-board power management system.

With the new ferries the operator aims to increase transport capacity between Lausanne in Switzerland and the two French towns Evian-les-Bains and Thonon-les-Bains on the south side of Lake Geneva. Due to the expected relocation of commuter traffic from the road to the lake, the CO2 pollution in the region will be substantially reduced.

When developing the vessels, CGN attached great importance to the safety and comfort of passengers as well as achieving the maximum possible energy efficiency. Voith was in close contact with both CGN and Shiptec dduring the design process in order to adapt the propulsion concept to the safety, comfort and energy efficiency requirements.

Oliver Lenz, Sales Application Manager, Voith said: “We first created a digital model of the ferries with our propulsion components. On our in-house simulator, the operator's captains were able to simulate the in part very challenging crossing, including the effects of currents and wind, even before the delivery of the ferries and convince themselves of the manoeuvrability of our propellers.”

The aft section was optimised using CFD to enable maximum VLJ efficiency and optimum interaction between hull and VLJ. The first ferry will be commissioned at the end of 2022, and the second in autumn 2023. With a length of 61.3m and a width of 11.4m, each can carry 700 passengers. The hybrid propulsion concept allows a peak load cap in the event of high energy demand peaks and switches to electric-only operation under load near the banks. With a drive power of 920kW per diesel engine and 224kW per electric motor, the ferries reach a maximum speed of 19 knots.

The VLJ has few moving parts, which makes the system robust and easy to maintain. In combination with the nozzle and rotor profile that are specially adapted to the ship, extremely low noise and vibration emissions are achieved. The VIT requires neither a drive shaft nor a transmission. This leads to a direct transfer of the input power, which increases thrust effect and hence efficiency. In systems up to 500 kW, the rotor is supported by a seawater-lubricated plain bearing patented by Voith.

According to Voith, the constant high efficiency over the full range makes this propulsion concept suited to wind farm support vessels, yachts, high-speed ferries and similar applications with a mixed-use profile ranging between slow cruising speed and running at speeds ranging from 18 to 40 knots.

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