The first bulk carrier empowered by solar energy is afloat
Photovoltaics panels provided by Solbian and TGE of Italy have been installed aboard the Paolo Topic, a vessel managed by Monaco-based Marfin Management
Dry bulk operator Marfin Management S.A.M. and solar panel specialists Solbian Energie Alternative Srl have announced the introduction of a first solar installation on a bulk carrier ship, namely the Paolo Topic.
The project was officialised with the signature of an agreement on 8th July, in Montecarlo, Principality of Monaco.
The innovative installation originated by the joint work of the two companies together with TGE Srl, an Italian company specialized in the realization of solar plants; special attention has been devoted in fitting the solar panels on the ship structure without creating fixed constraints to the load and unload operations. At this sake, a special removable structure was realized.
The goal of this first prototype will be to assess the solar production, bearing in mind the idea of a future integration of solar with the hybridization of the 3 diesel genset, which until now were the only source of electric power on the ship.
The seamless integration of engines, batteries, solar panels and power distribution, overall controlled by a dedicated Energy Management System (EMS), will ensure the Paolo Topic a drastic reduction in fuel consumption and maintenance expenses, combined with the most advanced level of environmental performances, so to make it the most technological advanced bulk carrier currently present in the world fleet. In addition, operation stability and increased efficiency will be ensured in all operation conditions including loading and unloading.
“We are pleased to have found like-minded partners to bring new technology and innovative thinking onboard to help improve our environmental performance leading the way towards a more sustainable future. We will be able to provide our customers and partners, the most advanced vessel’s performances and environmental quality without compromising on operation effectiveness and flexibility” said Alex Albertini, CEO at Marfin Management.
“Our unique technology allows us to participate in an adventure with real impact capable to disrupt some fundamentals allowing for change” commented Luca Bonci, CEO at Solbian.
By its side, Wärtsilä’s hybrid power module, the Wärtsilä HY, will ensure the seamless integration and control of the technologies to be installed, with the ship’s various existing power production systems. This is made possible by the use of an EMS that will have overall control of the engines, batteries, power distribution and, for the first time in the maritime industry, solar panels to be installed on the weather deck.
“This new technology development, utilizing a combination of engines, solar power and batteries, represents a milestone for the industry and is made possible by the Wärtsilä HY integration” stated Giulio Tirelli, Director at Wärtsilä Marine Business. “Thanks to the fully integrated solution, we are able to raise the bar in terms of economic competitiveness and environmental performance.”
The Paolo Topic, completed in May 2016 at Japanese Onomichi Dockyard Co. Ltd., registered under the Marshall Islands flag, formally belongs to Famalto Navigation Company Inc. Monrovia, Liberia; 199 meters long, the bulker has a capacity of 60,155 dwt.
The Monegasque company, which has been managing and operating handy and supramax dry cargo vessels since 1926, manages a varied fleet of 12 modern dry bulk units of the handymax and supramax type, mainly built in Japan - Paolo Topic, Giovanni Topic, Jalma Topic, Alberto Topic, Elena Topic, Lissa Topic, Anton Topic, Fiora Topic, Rosina Topic, Sand Topic, Ante Topic, Maria Topic - providing services such as technical and crew management as well as insurance, legal, financial, and information technology.
CEO of Marfin Management since 2010 is Alexandre Albertini, who has 22 years of experience in the maritime sector having joined in 1997 his family business, founded by the Dalmatian shipowner Anton Topic almost a century ago.
Having also joined in 2010 the Scorpio Tankers’ Board, in 2017 Albertini founded Factor8 Shipping SARL, a dry bulk commercial management company managing 15 vessels.
He also serves as President of Ant. Topic srl, a vessel and crewing agent based in Trieste, and in the boards of various trade associations; BIMCO, Monaco Chamber of Shipping, Intermanager and since January 2016 he has been a Director of The Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association (Bermuda) Limited.