“Silent drive” concept for new RDM tourist boat

Richardson Devine Marine has launched Spirit of the Wild, a new tour vessel for Australia’s World Heritage-listed Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Built for Gordon River Cruises to an Incat Crowther design, Spirit of the Wild is fitted with a pair of MTU 10V2000M72 main engines. Added to this is a cutting-edge hybrid electric system, consisting of a pair of ABB e-motors, driving hybrid-ready ZF gearboxes.

Particular attention was given to the mounting of the engines and gears to reduce the transmission of vibration and noise. The main engines’ modest rating is tailored to the local manning requirements. In open water, the vessel will use “boost mode” from the hybrid system, which matches motor speed to engine speed to seamlessly add electric power. In this mode, the vessel operates at 25 knots.

When the tour comes to the World Heritage-listed Gordon River, “silent drive mode” is engaged. In this mode, the main engines are shut down and the vessel runs on electric power.

Engine ventilation systems and the engine room were addressed with a fully-engineered acoustic insulation system. Attention was paid to fittings and door openings, with seals and bushes used extensively to stop rattles and gaps. In silent drive mode, the experience is eerily quiet, with seats returning sound level readings as low as 45dbA.


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