The 230 m-long, double-ended, hybrid battery ro-paxes, designed by OSK-ShipTech, will be delivered by the Chinese Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI) and will have entered operations by 2023.
The newbuildings will feature a suite of solutions aimed at making them as environmentally-friendly as possible. Specifically, all surplus energy generated by the engines will be stored in the battery pack. 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.
Second, a heat recovery (steam) system will be used to provide heating for ultra-low sulphur fuel oil fuel heaters, fuel tanks, fuel oil/lube oil purifier heaters, and for reheating the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. In addition, a heat pump will be used for HVAC system preheating, domestic hot water, machinery rooms, and technical spaces below deck 8.
Third, while during the peak summer season each ship will carry as many as 1,500 people, throughout off-peak sailings, it'll be possible to close up to two-thirds of the ferries - the power management system will turn off the lighting and ventilation in empty areas as well as optimise the utilisation of engines, batteries, and energy recovered from waste heat.
Fourth, thanks to the double-ended design and two bridges, there will be no need to turn the ferries around. The captain and senior officers will walk to the other end of the ship and navigate from the second bridge on the return leg. According to P&O Ferries, this will save seven minutes of time on both the outbound and return journeys and one tonne of fuel (a sixth of the amount used on the entire 21-mile crossing).
Apart from these, the two will have in-built observation windows and each will have a 1,550 m2-big deck area (three quarters of the size of Trafalgar Square). 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," the company wrote in a press release.
"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," Janette Bell, Chief Executive, P&O Ferries, highlighted.
She also underlined, "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."
Robert Woods, Chairman, P&O Ferries, added, "This major investment in a new generation of super-ferries is a powerful testament to the commitment of DP World, our owner, to enable trade flows between Britain and Europe by providing first class shipping capacity for many years to come."The deal with GSI includes an option to build two further vessels by 2024.