Superyacht propulsion retrofits

Nov 2, 2023 | Featured Article, News

Rolls-Royce’s business unit Power Systems and MB92 Group, a leading superyacht refit, repair and maintenance company with facilities in Spain and France, are entering a formal working partnership to provide sustainable propulsion and energy management systems for the global fleet of existing superyachts. This is part of a broader push to reduce the industry’s climate footprint.

The new partnership will involve mutual sharing of system performance data, research & development initiatives, technical training, and the establishment of best practices for smooth installations. Providing climate-friendly propulsion solutions will be key to lowering the climate footprint of the industry in a relatively short timeframe. The two partners see potential both in equipping existing yachts with environmentally-friendly engines that also have particulate filters and SCR exhaust gas aftertreatment and in performing retrofits with hybrid drives.

“We want to be the proactive ambassadors for a clean and climate-friendly superyacht operation, and with the alternative fuel like HVO and others it’s easy to take the first step,” Rolls-Royce and MB92 say.

Focus will initially be directed towards moving the fleet towards synthetic fuels such as BtL (Biomass to Liquid), HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) and PtL (Power to Liquid) such as e-diesel, also known as EN15940 fuels. All of them can replace conventional diesel fuel in mtu Series 2000 and 4000 engines without any adjustments – most of them are already released for EN15940 use.

HVO provides an up to 90% decrease in emissions with no compromise on power output, providing the fuel is available. An existing yacht with engines that are not HVO-compatible can be refitted with modern mtu engines and thus be operated in a much more climate-friendly way than before. In parallel, the partners will look to integrate more advanced solutions as soon as possible in alignment with Rolls-Royce’s ongoing R&D efforts on methanol-based solutions and other innovative alternatives.


Complex procedure

“While new-generation systems can be easily applied to newbuild designs, integrating next-generation systems into existing hull designs is a complex task,” explains Denise Kurtulus, Vice President Global Marine at Rolls-Royce’s business unit Power Systems. “Our collaboration with MB92 Group, known for their expertise in superyacht refit, brings exciting possibilities for our clients.”

MB92 Group CEO Jean-Marc Bolinger says: “I believe that there is great potential for those willing to take the initiative on driving progress in sustainability. The agreement further reflects our commitment to supporting the existing superyacht fleet in reducing their environmental impact. Rolls Royce’s advancements, particularly in areas such as methanol optimisation, are really encouraging. Our role is to combine our skills to facilitate the addition of these solutions to refit worklists more regularly.”

MB92 Group is committed to a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future for the superyacht industry. Alongside efforts to lower its own impact, ’Refit for the Future’ is a new service tailored to superyacht owners looking to reduce the environmental impact of their yachts, trim operating and financing costs, and protect resale value.