Rolls-Royce Introduces New Bridge and Propulsion Systems

September 14, 2023

Yachting Journal

In line with its “Bridge to Propeller” strategy for maritime applications, the business unit Power Systems of Rolls-Royce has expanded its yacht portfolio.

This includes new bridge and automation solutions from specialist Team Italia Marine, which Rolls-Royce acquired in July 2023. Already today, numerous shipyards for motor yachts between 30 and 100 meters in length rely on integrated bridge and automation solutions from the new Italian subsidiary, especially Italian yacht builders who occupy a prominent position on the international market. The integration of these products into Rolls-Royce’s mtu NautIQ product range will also open up the yacht building market outside Italy.  

Based on a new cooperation with ZF, the portfolio will also be expanded to include high-efficiency pod drives. In future, this will include propulsion systems based on the ZF Pod 4600 and mtu Series 2000 engines in the power range up to 1,250 kilowatts (1,700 hp). The new systems will be offered for series-production yachts up to around 30 meters in length with a top speed of up to 32 knots, and for workboats such as crew transfer vessels. New projects are being developed in close cooperation between Rolls-Royce with its Italian-based Yacht Competence Center, ZF and yacht manufacturers. In the future, Rolls-Royce will supply the complete propulsion package to the customer.

The mtu Hybrid PropulsionPack integrates the mtu diesel engines with electric propulsion modules, batteries, gearbox, control and monitoring systems and other electronic components. To ensure the optimum propulsion solution for each type of ship, Rolls-Royce offers a modular kit with standardized components.

At the core of the mtu yacht offering are the mtu Series 2000 and 4000 yacht engines, which are now released for operation with renewable diesel (HVO). These fuels include, for example, the sustainable fuels BtL (biomass to liquid), HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) and PtL (power to liquid) such as e-diesel. All of them can replace conventional diesel fuel, which is made from fossil petroleum, in these engines without any adjustments. Rolls-Royce sees HVO as a very effective sustainable solution because the fuel is already available.

For the future, it anticipates e-methanol will be the most promising marine fuel. Rolls-Royce is currently developing methanol propulsion solutions for yachts and workboats. Within the publicly funded MeOHmare project, Rolls-Royce is currently focusing on single-fuel technology and will be testing it on the single-cylinder test bed and the full-engine test bed in the coming years. The company is also testing dual-fuel solutions.

The main yacht engines are also available with exhaust aftertreatment systems for IMO III regulated areas.