Shiprepair & Maintenance: December 2020
One of the world’s most environmentally friendly ships, ForSea Ferries’ 111m-long ro-ro ferry, Tycho Brahe, will be fitted with Thordon Bearings’ grease-free ThorPlas-Blue bearings at the ship’s next scheduled drydocking.
Thordon’s ThorPlas-Blue bearing is a self-lubricating polymer bearing that can withstand operating pressures of up to 45MPa, an engineered thermoplastic that the company says offers very low wear in non-abrasive environments.
(Image credit: ForSea)
The decision to fit Thordon bearings follows its successful installation on Tycho Brahe’s sister ship, Aurora, by Swedish shipyard Oresund Drydocks. Christian Andersson, Aurora’s senior chief engineer, comments that since its installation in 2016 Aurora’s bow door reliability has improved, and the ship’s off-hire time has decreased.
According to ForSea Ferries, the high-intensity battery-operated vessels, Aurora and Tycho Brahe, are the first ferries of their size running on 100% battery power, which gives the ships a substantial emissions and power savings.
“This is a huge sustainable benefit as we save about 23,000tonnes of CO2, 13tonnes of NOx and 5tonnes of SOx being emitted to the atmosphere each year. As a customer focused ferry operator striving for zero emissions, we are interested in any solution proven to reduce our environmental footprint,” says Andersson.
Aurora and Tycho Brahe will operate between Helsingborg, Sweden and Helsingør, Denmark, and the ships will plug into battery recharging points located at each port, requiring five minutes of charging to provide sufficient power for the twenty-minute crossing.
Andersson comments that the company is pleased the results of Thordon’s bearings, which are installed on Aurora’s bow visor and soon to be retrofitted onto Tycho Brahe: “We operate the 32tonne bow doors 48 times a day. But we found with frequent opening and closing the bronze-type bushings seized and often cracked. We don’t have this problem with ThorPlas-Blue. We have a much better operational experience. We are now looking at Thordon’s water-lubricated and grease-free bearings for more applications in other vessels in the fleet.”
He explains that as sustainability is at the forefront of decision making at ForSea Ferries, the bearing’s ability to mitigate the risk of pollution is among the key drivers for installation: “Environmental sustainability is a very important factor in meeting our commercial goals but from a technical perspective, we have found ThorPlas-Blue significantly extends the life of the bow visor’s bearing, reducing maintenance requirements and associated costs.”