A first in environmentally-conscious vessel technology from Veecraft Marine

POSTED 27 May 2015

The company is pioneering the development of hybrid-propulsion technology in the South African maritime market.

Cape Town-based Veecraft Marine is set to become the first vessel construction and maritime engineering solutions company in South Africa to introduce hybrid-propulsion technology in locally-built commercial craft.

Hybrid power technology has come a long way since the development of steam turbine-electric propulsion systems a few decades ago.

Veecraft Marine – a member of the Nautic Group – is pioneering the development of hybrid-propulsion technology in the South African maritime market, and expects this technology to become increasingly popular in the years to come because of the significant emission and fuel reduction benefits associated with hybrid propulsion systems.

According to Veecraft Marine's Andre van Niekerk: "Hybrid propulsion technology in the maritime industry can be compared to that used in the automotive industry.

"Similar to the auto industry, today's electric motors and batteries for the maritime industry are small, highly efficient and capable of generating the power required by small commercial passenger vessels such as ferries and tourism boats.

"Hybrid propulsion is also suitable for patrol vessels used by the oil and gas industry, which requires vessels to be fuel-efficient when maintaining low and sustained speeds for patrol operations, but equally capable of reaching high speeds when, for example, the vessel is needed to intercept an intruder."

"The flexibility of hybrid propulsion makes it possible to achieve both speed and fuel efficiency because the technology allows the vessel to go from electrical power to a combination of electrical and diesel power when additional speed or power is required."

Van Niekerk expects hybrid propulsion to become increasingly popular in the years to come, especially among environmentally-conscious vessel owners and operators determined to reduce fuel costs and CO2 emissions, all while maintaining speed and performance.