01 November 2023
Volvo Penta has been recognised at the inaugural MRH Innovation and Sustainability Awards — a new program organised by the Marine Research Hub in partnership with the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2023.
The MRH Innovation and Sustainability Award showcases projects and initiatives that demonstrate measurable positive impact on marine and coastal ecosystems. The awards are selected by a panel of independent judges across four categories, with Volvo Penta named as one of three shortlisted finalists on October 25, the opening day of FLIBS 2023.
“We are honoured to partner with FLIBS for the first MRH Innovation & Sustainability Awards and recognise Volva Penta as a finalist,” says Katherine O’Fallon, executive director of the non-profit organisation Marine Research Hub.
Johan Inden, president of the Marine Business Unit at Volvo Penta, adds: “To be recognised at the first MRH Innovation & Sustainability award is a real honour and a great reward for the team’s unwavering commitment to innovation and bringing sustainable solutions to life.”
The inaugural prize was ultimately awarded to Sunreef Yachts, whose 80 Sunreef Power Eco Sól offers an electric battery bank combined with composite-integrated solar panels.
Swedish marine and industrial engine manufacturer Volvo Penta says its roadmap to net zero is based on a ‘multi-faceted approach’. This approach includes the development of future alternative fuels and hybrid-electric and fuel cell technologies, combined with advances in innovative boat design.
“New thinking is just as important as new technology in making the boating industry more sustainable,” says Inden. “That’s why we’re introducing simple changes that customers can take advantage of today, as well as driving innovation and developing new solutions for tomorrow.
“Water is our life and love, and we’re excited to continue our journey and advance marine innovation to deliver a better ocean for all.”
One of the firm’s most recent developments is the evolution of the Volvo Penta Inboard Performance System (IPS), which Volvo Penta says can offer up to 30 per cent higher efficiency and 30 per cent reductions in CO2 emissions compared with traditional inboard shaft installations.
Volvo Penta says IPS is a significant part of its strategy to drive sustainability independently of energy sources in the future. The announcement of a new Volvo Penta IPS professional platform is a range expansion that will extend its use into vessels and superyachts from 22 m to 55+ m (72 ft to 180 ft), and introduce new marine technology in this class of vessels.
As well as bringing the efficiency and manoeuvrability benefits of Volvo Penta IPS to a bigger category of today’s boats, the Volvo Penta IPS professional platform also sets the platform for these vessels to run from multiple power sources in future. This advance goes live in 2025, and points the way to an exciting new future in sustainable marine propulsion technology.
Volvo Penta’s advances around sustainability also revolve around HVO 100 (also known as renewable diesel), a fossil-free fuel able to power any of the company’s diesel engines.
The initiative is simple for customers to adopt, as no mechanical adjustment is required by the owner – simply refuel with HVO 100 and immediately start enjoying lower emissions boating.
HVO 100 is now being used on all vessels at Volvo Penta’s test facility in Gothenburg, and the company is actively promoting its use, including recent demos with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and practical advice for boaters.
In addition, Volvo Penta has embarked on several hybrid-electric initiatives, including a demo with Groupe Beneteau. In June 2023, the hybrid-electric test vessel was presented to media, customers, dealers and industry stakeholders to trial the system.
In a behind-the-scenes event at Volvo Penta’s Gothenburg facility, more than 70 per cent of attendees polled said they would likely choose a hybrid-electric system for their next purchase.
Elsewhere, Volvo Penta says it is testing several solutions in support of its aim to reach net zero by 2050. The company has announced a new range of variable-speed marine generator sets that enable boatyards to install hybrid-electric modular propulsion systems. Their future-proofed design means owners can invest in vessels knowing they are ready to integrate emerging alternative energy sources as and when they are available.
The company’s ongoing partnership with CMB.tech saw the rollout of a pilot, dual-fuel hydrogen power ferry called Hydrobingo. This ferry is running test voyages off the coast of Japan and showing CO2 emissions reductions of up to 54 per cent, including 28 per cent lower NOx, compared with an equivalent diesel-powered vessel.