Rolls-Royce is to partner with Spanish energy company Gas Natural to develop and install a pure-gas Bergen engine onboard the Baleària-operated ferry, Abel Matutes.

The 29,670t Ro-pax ferry will be equipped with an LNG-fuelled Rolls-Royce Bergen C26:33 L6 AG auxiliary engine to generate 1560kWe of clean power.

Baleària group president Adolfo Utor said: "This is a very important milestone that will enable us to be pioneers in the use of natural gas on ferries and, at the same time, be more sustainable.

"Besides reducing CO2 emissions by 40%, it also enables us to reduce fuel costs. Abel Matutes may well find herself deployed on a route in an Emissions Control Area (ECA) sometime in the future."

During its stay in port, the gas engine of Abel Matutes will be connected to the distribution infrastructure ashore or the LNG tank onboard.

"[It] will enable us to be pioneers in the use of natural gas on ferries and, at the same time, be more sustainable."

In addition, the vessel will also receive natural gas during approach and departure manoeuvres in order to generate electricity.

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By GlobalData

With this Bergen gas engine technology, the ferry will be able to reduce emissions and also to have an annual saving of almost 4,000t of carbon, more than 60t of nitrogen and 6t of sulphur.

The new engine will be fully incorporated into the electricity plant on the vessel, which will allow operation with any of the onboard auxiliaries.

The pre-installation work is expected to be carried out soon and testing implementation is scheduled for the end of next year.

The Abel Matutes was delivered in 2010 from the Hijos de J Barreras shipyard in Vigo, Spain, and the dry docking of the vessel is expected to be later this year.

Image: The Baleària-operated ferry Abel Matutes will be equipped with Rolls-Royce Bergen gas engine. Photo: courtesy of Rolls-Royce plc.