Thecla Bodewes Shipyards receives order to build NIOZ Research Vessel Wim Wolff

January 26 2021

After a careful tendering process, the NWO-I Foundation Board awarded the construction of Research Vessel Wim Wolff to Thecla Bodewes Shipyards. This research vessel replaces the RV Navicula and is the first new vessel in the national research fleet. The vessels are managed by the National Marine Facilities (NMF) at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). For Thecla Bodewes Shipyards, the construction of the modern and sustainable research vessel is a special project with a nice reference. “Both the functionality as a research vessel and the green, sustainable approach are principles that suit us well,” says Thecla Bodewes. “The ship's philosophy - with the development of a sustainable diesel-electric power management system from D&A Electric with a lithium-free battery pack - ensures that the ship has minimal emissions upon delivery. In addition, the ship can easily be adapted to new technologies and energy sources without major renovations.”

Life-cycle Proof Vessel Design

The expected lifespan for RV Wim Wolff is likely to exceed thirty years. With marine fuels rapidly evolving into cleaner types, further limiting emissions, power plants could become outdated multiple times within the ship's life-cycle. Thecla Bodewes Shipyards developed a Modular Energy Concept, with a propulsion train independent of the energy source system. This enables the use of alternative energy systems, without the need for a major ship conversion.

Alternative Fuel Types & Emission savings

Appliance of alternative fuel types result in reduction of various forms of emission. RV Wim Wolff will operate on HVO in combination with a battery pack at delivery; HVO stands for “Hydrotreated Vegetable Oils” and is a 100% synthetic diesel fuel, made of bio products and suitable for diesel engines. So HVO diesel is not a fossil fuel. The vessel is prepared for future use of e.g. hydrogen or methanol, to further limit emissions. The combined energy saving solutions, when compared to a conventional Diesel-Electric propulsion system, result in sustainable savings for the customer and the environment.

D&A® Electric Propulsion System

Thecla Bodewes Shipyards, in close cooperation with D&A® Electric will in extend, and without compromising on efficiency at design speed, focus on maximum fuel savings at partial load, which represent 50% of the operational profile.

Under Water Noise

Operating at the equilibrium of optimal Propeller and Engine rpm, noise & vibrations of the propeller are noticeably reduced, resulting in less disturbance of the marine environment.

“Zero emission” ambition of NWO-I & NIOZ

“With the arrival of RV Wim Wolff, high-quality marine research in the Dutch coastal waters and Wadden Sea is assured of a modern and sustainable research vessel for the coming decades. With this ship, we are approaching our high green ambition level of "zero emission" as much as is currently possible, "says NWO-I director Miriam Luizink. “We look forward to a pleasant cooperation with Thecla Bodewes Shipyards during the development and construction of the RV Wim Wolff!”. The construction of the ship, which is 36.5 meters long and 10 meters wide with an operational draught of 1 meter, will start shortly. The construction process will take approximately 2 years. RV Wim Wolff will be completed early 2023. It can then replace RV Navicula in the spring of 2023.