P&O has signed a contract with Guangzhou Shipyard worth £230m to deliver a new generation of ships on the English Channel.
Two new 230m super-ferries, the largest ever to sail between Dover and Calais, will be operational by 2023, with options to build two further vessels by 2024. This investment is designed to ensure that P&O Ferries' position as the leading provider of transport for people and goods between Britain and the continent is maintained.
Janette Bell, Chief Executive of P&O Ferries, said;
"These will be the most sustainable ships ever to sail on the English Channel, providing the best ever customer experience and setting new standards for reliability and cost-efficiency. Together with our freight and overnight routes on the North Sea, the new ships will offer customers travelling between Britain and Europe an unrivalled range of services connecting sea and land. They are designed to secure P&O Ferries' position as a vital part of Europe's transport infrastructure into the 2040s."
Some noticeable innovations the new super-ferries are set to include:
Cutting fuel use by 40% through a combination of fuel and battery propulsion
All surplus energy generated by the engines will be stored in the battery. This will enable the engines to be run at the optimum level, with the battery charging when excess energy is being created and discharging when the ship requires peaks of power.
The heat recovery system saves fuel which reduces the vessel's carbon footprint
The heat recovery system saves fuel and reduces the vessel's carbon footprint by using a steam system to provide heating for ULSFO fuel heaters, fuel tanks, FO/LO purifier heaters and HVAC system reheating. In addition, a heat pump will be used for HVAC system preheating, domestic hot water, machinery rooms and technical spaces below deck 8.
Future-proofing anticipates the 'zero carbon emissions ship'
The ship is designed with the capacity to be carbon neutral in the future on the twin assumptions that there are more electric shore chargining stations in ports and batteries. A double-ended design and two bridges on the ship, meaning that there is no need to turn around. The captain and senior officers will simply walk to the other end of the ship and navigate from the second bridge on the return leg. This will save seven minutes of time on both the outbound and return journeys and one ton of fuel, a sixth of the amount used on the entire 21-mile crossing.
Outside deck areas to provide viewing platforms of the White Cliffs of Dover
The ships are designed to provide unrivalled views of one of the most famous maritime landmarks in the world - the White Cliffs of Dover. The vessel has in-built observation windows and there will be an outside deck area with 1,550 square metres of space - three quarters of the size of Trafalgar Square.
Panoramic sea views for passengers
The passenger decks 8 and 9 have been designed with double-height windows running around the entirety of the middle of the ship. These will have the effect of flooding the interior of the ship with natural light and provide spectacular sea views.
A power management system to close down parts of the ship when not in use
During peak summer season the ship will carry 1,500 people. However, during off-peak sailings, up to two-thirds of the ship can be closed and therefore the power management system will use innovative software to turn off the lighting and ventilation in empty areas as well as optimizing the utilization of engines, batteries and energy recovered from waste heat.
The revolutionary new shape of hull for the English Channel and azimuth thrusters which increase the manoeuvrability of the ship
The hull will be far broader than that of the ferries they replace on the Channel, making it feasible to have two azimuth thrusters at each end of the ship which will improve the vessels maneuvrability, help drive it through the water and elimiate the need to turn around in port.