Schottel to supply tech for autonomous Ro-Ro ships

Schottel has been awarded a contract to deliver EcoPellers and PumpJets for two new autonomous Ro-Ro ships currently under construction for ASKO Maritime.

As previously reported, ASKO Maritime, a subsidiary of the Norwegian retail group, Norges Gruppen awarded a contract for the vessels to Cochin Shipyard Limited in July. Both vessels will have full battery-electric propulsion and are designed for transporting trailers across Oslo Fjord between two of ASKO’s distribution centres.

‘We have a clear ambition to be climate neutral and have set ambitious goals, including being a self-sufficient provider of clean energy and having 100% emission-free transport by 2026,’ said Kai Just Olsen Director of ASKO Maritime.

‘These innovative ships are key to fulfilling that ambition and will form an essential component of a zero-emissions logistics chain linking our facilities. We are very pleased that Schottel is supporting us in this project.’

The main propulsion system of each vessel will consist of one medium-sized Schottel EcoPeller type SRE 210 (500 kW) driven by an electric motor. This motor will be electrically powered by a battery bank with 1,846 kilowatt-hours capacity.

The hydrodynamically optimised design of the SRE is said to generate maximum steering forces, ‘thereby enabling top performance’ in terms of overall efficiency and course stability. This, says Schottel, reduces fuel consumption and ensures lower operating costs and lower emissions.

Elsewhere, an electrically powered Schottel PumpJet type SPJ 57 (200 kW) will be fitted at the bow to act both as thruster and take-home system, which the company says will improve manoeuvrability ‘many times over’.

Since awarding the shipbuilding contract, ASKO Maritime has signed agreements with Kongsberg Maritime and Massterly – a Kongsberg Wilhelmsen joint venture – for zero-emission and autonomous technology.

The vessels will be fitted with a bridge forward and initially they will be operated with a crew on board. Once established, the vessels will operate fully autonomously for ASKO with the ability to transport 16 fully loaded standard EU trailers at a time. These will be stowed on the open deck with a loading ramp at the stern.

The operating speed will be 10 knots and it is anticipated that this mode of trailer transport will replace over 2 million road miles per year, in turn saving around 5,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.

The 67-metre-long vessels have been designed by Naval Dynamics in Norway. They will be built under DNV GL Classification and flagged in Norway. The contract includes options for two further vessels.

Both vessels are scheduled to enter operation in January 2022.

Rhys Berry

Rhys Berry

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