First UK Hybrid Pilot Boat Powered by Yanmar Marine

Published on: 11/07/2018


The Port of London Authority (PLA) has ordered the UK’s first hybrid pilot boat from Goodchild Marine Services Limited in a move that is set to underpin dramatic environmental performance improvements.

The PLA has placed the order as it starts to deliver on the commitments in its recently published Air Quality Strategy for the tidal Thames; also the first of its kind for any UK Port. The vessel will change the face of the pilot boat industry by drastically reducing the release of greenhouse gases into the environment.

The hull will be based on the established ‘ORC’ design, developedby naval architects Pantocarene and adapted by Goodchild Marine for the UK market. This design features a unique ‘beak’ bow design, which gives it unmatched all-weather capability and typically uses 40% less diesel per nautical mile than a conventional hull. 

The ORC 136.HY, a parallel hybrid pilot boat, will combine both diesel and electric power and has been designed to be completely emission-free when operating in electric mode. Twin Yanmar 6LY400 engines will be supplied by  Barrus Ltd, Yanmar’s UK distributor, and transmission specialists, Marine and Industrial Transmissions Limited will supply the Transfluid Hybrid system to deliver a plug-in diesel hybrid pilot boat. 

The 6LY400 engines form part of a new 6LY-CR family of inline six-cylinder units which build on the Yanmar tradition of producing state-of-the-art compact and powerful marine diesel engines. The high-pressure common-rail fuel system delivers finely atomised fuel to the cylinders for better power-to-weight performance, fuel economy and smooth running which delivers class-leading performance.

PLA Chief Executive, Robin Mortimer, said: 

“We are in the environmental vanguard in the UK ports sector – following the first green tariff and first air quality strategy, with the first hybrid pilot cutter order.  Introducing the hybrid boat is going to result in a major improvement in the environmental performance of our operations.

We expect that through the powertrain, hull design and lower weight, the hybrid cutter will use less than 10% of the fuel used by our current pilot vessel, with carbon dioxide emissions similarly reduced. That should see us going from using 86,000 litres of fuel for our pilot cutter operations a year to around 7,000 litres.

It’s fantastic that we have been able to partner with Goodchild Marine on this ground-breaking move for the UK ports sector.”

London is the UK’s second biggest port with PLA pilots undertaking more than 10,000 pilotage acts a year, handling around 50m tonnes of cargo annually. The new pilot cutter, which is expected to reach up to 15 knots under hybrid power, will be used by the PLA for the transfer of pilots to and from vessels in Gravesend Reach.

Robert Plant, General Manager for the Marine Diesel Division at Barrus, commented: “The twin Yanmar 6LY400 engines are renowned for being both reliable and efficient.

Having worked with the PLA and MIT on a number of applications in the past, we were pleased to have been approached by Goodchild Marine to supply the engines for the first hybrid pilot boat.

We are excited to be part of this new wave of technology and look forward to seeing the final result out on the water.”

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