© Airbus Louis Dreyfus Armateurs Norsepower

BERG Propulsion’s hybrid solution will ensure three wind-assisted Louis Dreyfus ro-ro ships maximize efficiency, whatever their mode of operation

Berg Secures Louis Dreyfus Armateurs Propulsion Package For Wind-Assisted Airbus Ro-Ro Vessels


12 June 2024 – BERG Propulsion has won a contract covering the hybrid propulsion solution that ensure three wind-assisted Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) ro-ro vessels will maximize efficiency regardless of their mode of operation.

Following delivery by China’s Wuchang Shipbuilding from 2026 onwards, the innovative vessels will carry Airbus A320 Family jetliner subassemblies from France (Saint-Nazaire) to the final assembly line in the United States (Mobile, Alabama). The ships have been designed by Deltamarin with the aim of halving fuel burn and CO2 emissions in transatlantic operations by 2030 compared to a 2023 baseline.

Wind power drawn from six Flettner rotor-sails on each ship’s deck will make a strong contribution to reduced emissions, with weather routing optimization software also in place to maximize wind-assisted time and minimize drag. In conventional mode, the ships will run on dual fuel methanol engines.

Optimizing propulsion performance at all times will rely on integrated power management and propulsion systems from BERG. LDA has specified the supplier’s extensive engine-agnostic propulsion package for newbuild ships. As well as the complete propulsion train to work with each ship’s main engines, BERG is supplying state-of-the-art controllable pitch propellers with feathering capability.

Arthur Barret, Head of Engineering, Project & Innovation Department, LDA, commented: “At LDA, our ambition is to lead the maritime industry through its energy transition. We must ensure that the solutions supporting our vision are the smartest available and that we can rely on our technology partners throughout a ship’s lifetime. BERG’s integrated propulsion system enables us to minimize fuel consumption and emissions.”

Amrita Singh, Account Manager, BERG Propulsion, explained that the BERG hybrid solution allows main engines and electric motors to drive propulsion either independently or simultaneously so that the most efficient power option is used as a vessel’s operational needs change.

“The system works with alternative power sources, including wind,” said Singh. “It’s key when integrating sails that they work seamlessly with propulsion controls so that adjustments can be made to thrust in any given weather and sea condition. In BERG’s solution, Dynamic Drive is integrated into the MPC800 control system, which delivers this capability without the operational complexity of additional hardware.”

“The propulsion package includes a range of ‘modes’, whose selection optimizes performance across the ship’s various operational requirements,” explained Mattias Dombrowe, Business Manager – Electrical System Integration, BERG Propulsion. “As well as mechanical with PTO or electric modes, propellers also operate in boost mode to achieve full speed when required. When the rotor sails are in service, one or both of the propellers can be feathered to optimize wind-assisted operations.”

Crew continuously optimize efficiency using the flexibility available to the  propulsion control unit, rather than being limited by the predetermined relationships between engine load and specific fuel oil consumption, said Dombrowe.

Integration had also been a feature of the way BERG teams worked with CSSC yard Wuchang Shipbuilding to satisfy owner expectations, according to Wei Jun Zhang, Account Manager BERG Shanghai. “Working alongside Wuchang Shipbuilding has been an absolute pleasure, allowing us to showcase the competency, capacity, and capabilities that BERG has to maximize the performance of these innovative ships.”

When upgraded to include Dynamic Drive, the Berg Propulsion’s MPC800M system is enabled to set upper limits for vessel speed or fuel consumption by optimizing the pitch and rpm of the control pitch propeller. If the speed limit is exceeded, Dynamic Drive automatically reduces thrust until the limit is met. If fuel is the priority, the algorithm selects the rpm/pitch to optimize engine performance.

“Data from the initial trials showed MPC 800 control system achieving around 10% fuel reductions, and our expectation is that there is more to come as the system beds into operations,” said Ersen Uçakhan, Technical Manager, Chemfleet. “We will upgrade YM Neptune, YM Pluto and YM Uranus later this year, continuing our successful collaboration with Berg Propulsion on this exciting project.” 

The opportunity to replace the existing controls system from another supplier with Berg’s MPC800 system on YM Miranda was accomplished in three days. Özgür Bartınlı, Service Manager, Berg Propulsion, explained that the system offers the open architecture for software upgrades as required.   

“Chemfleet is a high-quality chemical tanker manager which takes a proactive approach to enhancing ship performance – looking beyond the requirements of CII and EEXI, for example,” he said. “Adding Dynamic Drive delivers not only a significant competitive edge, but also the performance to anticipate emissions requirements well ahead of regulation.”

Emre Özkul, Product Support Manager, Berg Propulsion, added: “After the initial retrofit of the MPC800M control system on board YM Miranda, we have been delighted to verify that the upgrade helps Chemfleet crews to reduce the ship’s fuel consumption based on everyday operations. In the upcoming months, we are excited to bring more gains to three more ships by incorporating additional Dynamic Drive software into our planned retrofit solution.”

Dynamic Drive software is one of several class-approved options devised by Berg Propulsion to help ships rise to their efficiency challenges. In cooperation with owners and operators, Berg uses 3D scanning and modelling tools to develop retrofit options that offer cost-based gains, factoring in drydocking work. Its solutions minimize mechanical and hydrodynamical losses, combining the best equipment for specific applications to boost energy efficiency without compromising vessel reliability.

“Our analysis involves a thorough evaluation of product efficiency, encompassing the propeller, gearbox, shaft alternator, generators, and engines,” Özkul explained. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so we dig deep in analyzing the current system’s efficiency, configuration and performance to establish the crucial areas for improvement and formulate next steps. Berg Propulsion works closely with ship owners to deliver on with their energy efficiency needs, whether they are working through the EEXI and CII transition, focusing on fuel efficiency or leading the way on decarbonization.”

All 10 ships will feature Berg’s complete main propulsion systems and energy optimizing control technology, and include Dynamic Drive after trials on Snow Crystal, Nordic Crystal and Baltic Crystal.

“The data indicated that, on average, Dynamic Drive functionality will help achieve a 10% saving in fuel consumption, while in some operational conditions that could increase to 20%,” said Ola Persson, Technical Project Manager, Erik Thun.

Dynamic Drive is an adaptive thrust and fuel optimization software, offered for inclusion with the Berg Propulsion MPC 800 control system. The software automatically and dynamically identifies the most energy efficient settings for propeller pitch/RPM to produce the thrust to maintain the required speed.

Jorgen Karlsson, General Manager Europe & Americas, Berg Propulsion, said: “Dynamic Drive provides a user-friendly interface which simplifies a key part of operations, allowing crew to set limits more easily to ensure consistent fuel-efficient vessel operation in all operational modes.”  

Thun conducted its initial trial of the solution on board the newbuilding bulk carrier Snow Crystal – a modern, energy efficient, ice class 1A ship which operates on Sweden’s Lake Vänern. Its success convinced the owner to choose the solution for Nordic Crystal and Baltic Crystal, with specifications modified to include ‘floating frequency’ capabilities.

“Decarbonization is a key driver for our operations and maximizing efficiency is a central requirement for reducing carbon intensity, whether we are talking about current fuels or the new generation of higher cost alternatives,” commented Henrik Källsson, Erik Thun AB Deputy Managing Director. “Working with the Berg Propulsion team over many years has proved a winning formula for us.”  

Mattias Hansson, Global Sales Manager, Berg Propulsion, added: “I would like to thank Erik Thun and Ferus Smit for continuing our excellent cooperation, where clarity on objectives encourages openness to innovative ideas – especially those aligning with Thun’s focus on sustainability. Dynamic Drive is delivering a practical solution that helps a ship’s crew and its owner achieve greener operations.”