The hybrid marine engine that speaks Italian – INTERVIEW

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  Blue Hybrid System

Comparing boating to automotive, it may seem that the marine engine world is at a standstill in terms of the development of electric propulsion, particularly by the major manufacturers, the so-called “big players.”

But is there a real need at this time? We asked Massimo Labruna, engineer and sole director of
AS Labruna
, which specializes in marine diesel engines, who can explain the views of such a manufacturer.

“So far, not entirely. The main obstacle is the cost and limitations if we compare it to a thermal motorcycle. Then the problem is not the engine itself, but rather the batteries because of the weight and price. As a matter of fact, without a real obligation, it doesn’t suit anyone right now,” Massimo Labruna tells us. According to Massimo Labruna, however, the solution is not 100% electric.

“My idea of zero-emission propulsion is through a hybrid system that converts CO2 (carbon dioxide) produced by the endo-thermal engine into a green fuel that can be used by the endothermic engine itself, or as fuel for a fuel cell to power the electric motor. This results in zero emissions, without the limitations of classically recharged batteries.”

THE ITALIAN-STYLE HYBRID

There are, however, circumstances in which an electric motor becomes a compulsory choice, for example in Venice or on some lakes. The need for electric motorization caused an Italian company to develop an ad hoc, hybrid system. It is called the Blue Hybrid System and is in fact an on-board installable diesel engine kit. Once in operation, the electric motor has a range of about 4-5 hours.

This system integrates with a Naviop panel to provide all data from range to engine revolutions. In fact, such a system brings together the advantages of a diesel engine and an electric: speed, power, ample running time with the reduced zero emissions, silence, and reduced wave motion.

From diesel engine we switch to electric by making the change while the engine is stopped. This makes it possible to navigate open areas with a diesel engine and then switch to an electric motor while passing through marine protected areas, making navigation in these waters carbon-neutral. In addition, by using the conventional engine while sailing, batteries can be recharged, zeroing out dockside charging time.


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