The new thruster will be used on six of Blue Amigo's new water buses, which will operate in the Netherlands
Shipbuilder Damen has partnered with propulsion provider Hydromaster to develop a new type of thruster for six passenger ferries that it is constructing for Netherlands-based operator Blue Amigo.
The six hybrid carbon fibre water buses will operate fast inter-city services between Rotterdam and Drecht, so Damen wanted to develop a fully azimuthing, 360-degree thruster to make manoeuvring and docking quick and easy.
Damen joined forces with Hydromaster, which worked in collaboration with The Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) to develop the hydromechanics necessary to produce the thruster. MARIN assessed Damen’s hull design, facilitated a computational fluid dynamics study and developed a solution comprising an 840-millimetre-diameter propeller with a clearance of 23 per cent diameter from the hull. This minimises vibrations and allowing for increased efficiency.
“We had already been working on something that would meet these requirements,” said Jan Terlouw, commercial manager at Hydromaster. “A 375-kilowatt thruster able to operate at speeds of up to and beyond 25 knots and durable enough to cover over 4,000 hours each year. But we had never built it. Once Damen signed its contract with Blue Amigo, we got the green light to go ahead.”
Damen’s in-house team has also designed a single joystick controller for the thruster.
“This is a compact installation that takes the concept of standardised shipbuilding and applies it on another level,” said Jan van Ooijen, design and proposal engineer for ferries at Damen. “The result maximises the performance of the vessel and offers the reliability required for a ferry service. We can see a future for this type of thruster.”
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