Wärtsilä’s HY hybrid power module solution is now in use on a ship for the first time, operating on the escort tugboat Vilja owned by the Port of Luleå, Sweden.

The power module solution was specially developed by Wärtsilä to meet the specific requirements of the tug market.

Having completed commissioning and sea trials, the vessel was delivered to the Port of Luleå last month. Vilja was built at Gondan Shipbuilders in Asturias, Spain.

Wärtsilä Marine sales and business intelligence director Giulio Tirelli said: “This vessel is the most powerful tug operating with hybrid propulsion and it can be considered as creating a benchmark in the new era of modern shipping.

“The implementation of the Wärtsilä HY and the process followed for reaching this milestone represents a practical application of Wärtsilä’s data-driven design principles, and it effectively transforms our Smart Marine vision into practice.”

Wärtsilä HY has various operating methods, including the green mode that runs in silence and releases zero emissions, as well as a power boost, delivering a higher bollard pull than any other conventional solution of comparable size.

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It also features smokeless operation whereby no smoke is produced, even during the start-up of the main engines.

Said to be the key component of the Wärtsilä HY, the Finnish firm said that its Energy Management System (EMS) was tuned according to actual data that was obtained during a year of field operations.

The EMS was tested at the Wärtsilä Hybrid Centre and has been designed to deal with drastically changing operating conditions.

This feature will benefit Luleå, with the vessel able to operate as normal in the summertime as well as in metre-thick ice during the winter months.

Luleå Hamn chief executive officer Henrik Vuorinen said: “The Vilja represents the most technologically advanced tug currently in operation. The selection of the Wärtsilä hybrid power module will ensure a drastic reduction in emissions, setting new, higher, standards for our service, and for the quality of life in the Luleå region.”

Wärtsilä’s HY for Tug solution provides better environmental performance while considerably reducing fuel and maintenance costs.