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Every Little Helps As Brittany Ferries Propel Pont-Aven With Additional Sub-Propellors

30th March 2019
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Pont-Aven's Wärtsilä's EnergoProfin system has led to fuel consumption and emissions cut by around 2% on every crossing. AFLOAT adds this afternoon the cruise-ferry returned to the Cork-Roscoff  seasonal service which resumed last weekend when fleetmate ropax Connemara operated the Ireland-France connection. Connemara also serves the year-round operated Cork to Santander service linking Spain. Pont-Aven's Wärtsilä's EnergoProfin system has led to fuel consumption and emissions cut by around 2% on every crossing. AFLOAT adds this afternoon the cruise-ferry returned to the Cork-Roscoff seasonal service which resumed last weekend when fleetmate ropax Connemara operated the Ireland-France connection. Connemara also serves the year-round operated Cork to Santander service linking Spain. Photo: Brittany Ferries

#ferries - Brittany Ferries Cork-Roscoff cruise-ferry Pont-Aven began today its first sailing in 2019 on the seasonal route and will save energy and reduce fuel consumption thanks to the installation of two innovative devices on the ship's propellers.

Wärtsilä‘s EnergoProfin system is a small sub-prop, which is attached to the main propeller helmet, helping improve propulsion in water. Two of these devices were installed during the ship’s dry dock in December 2018. As a consequence fuel consumption and emissions have been cut by around 2% on every crossing.

This project is a small – but significant – step and it comes as part of a range of studies initiated through Brittany Ferries’ Research and Development program. But, as Vincent Coquen, Head of R&D, Energy and Environment for the company, explains, it is not just a question of developing practical and technical solutions for today such as the propellers on Pont-Aven.

“Sustainable development means looking to the future and studying innovative projects and technologies that could be used in either the short or longer term,” he said.

For the past two years, Brittany Ferries has partnered with CEA Tech in France. Several projects are underway, including the development of a long-range broadband link that would use land-based transmitters to obviate the use of satellite-at-sea. A second study focuses on hybrid energy solutions for Cap Finistère, Brittany Ferries cruise-ferry that sails from the UK to Spain. The last is exploring the long-term implementation of fuel cells for powering certain of the ship's on-board systems.

Brittany Ferries is also looking at the potential for wind energy. Flettner rotors, traction wings, or modern sails are at different stages of development, but could significantly reduce ship fuel consumption and therefore emissions.

“Of course, we must be cautious, checking the feasibility of integrating these technologies on board our ships, in terms of safety, reliability and profitability,” added Vincent Coquen. “But I am convinced that they will have a significant role in the equation that ship-owners must solve to achieve the zero emissions ship.”

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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