Hamburg, Augsburg, November 15, 2021 – Three questions for Christoph Fenske: In an interview with shipping journalist Behrend Oldenburg, the new E-MS Managing Director reports on what the Hamburg-based engineering office already has in common with its new owner, the RENK Group, what the new course looks like and what customers stand to gain.

The globally active RENK Group, headquartered in Augsburg, acquired the Hamburg-based engineering company E-MS last year. As a result, the Group can enormously increase its know-how in the area of “electricity on board of ships” – above all in customized, customer-specific concepts for the most economical and environmentally friendly power supply. From your point of view, what role does electricity play in shipping, in the medium and long term?

Christoph Fenske: The electrification of propulsion systems is already well advanced in cruise ships and megayachts. Here, diesel gensets only generate electricity. The next step will be the integration of DC power sources and storage systems like batteries and fuel cells. In the case of cargo ships, on the other hand, we are not quite so far advanced. Here, the propulsion power is high while the power requirements for the crew facilities are comparatively low, hence diesel-electric propulsion systems are not yet. However, CO2 reduction targets could pave the way for DC networks on board. Indeed, if the gensets are able to run at variable speeds, they can deliver significant CO2 savings. 

The RENK Group and E-MS have known each other for more than just the past year. What connects the two companies, and what does the joint future look like?

Christoph Fenske: We got to know and appreciate each other really well during the construction of the world’s largest sailing yacht “A”, which was commissioned in 2017. E-MS took over the engineering of the electrical system, and RENK supplied the gearbox units. This was a very challenging project for all involved due to the high complexity and degree of innovation in the system, which we successfully completed together. All diesel and electric systems have been running very reliably since then. Incidentally, the fuel savings – and thus also the reduction in CO2 emissions – are around 15 percent compared with a conventional system. And when the “A” sails, it will of course be far below that, with the same comfort on board as if it runs with an engine.

And as far as E-MS is concerned: We will continue to operate from our site here in the Harburg inland port. Hamburg is an important shipbuilding and shipping location. Short distances and on-site presence are still important, even in times of video conferencing. In addition, we have taken on all employees. For us, expertise and experience depend on people, not just on patents and CAD drawings!

And what does the joint future mean for the customers of RENK and E-MS?

Christoph Fenske: In a nutshell: RENK has the drive technology, E-MS the switchgear – that is the perfect combination! The RENK Group also offers great financial backing, which is an important competitive factor, especially for long-term, complex projects. And not only for E-MS, yet especially for our customers. Furthermore, since propulsion is often discussed very early in a project, there are opportunities for E-MS to be involved in shipbuilding projects at a very early stage. RENK’s worldwide sales network also gives E-MS access to international customers. Incidentally, we are currently pursuing several joint projects in the megayacht, research ship and marine sectors. We are also supporting our Chinese partners in engineering for commercial ships.

Thank you very much for the interview!

About E-MS: The engineering company specializes in the subject of electricity on board of ships. Customized concepts for the most economical and environmentally friendly power supply systems and on-board networks are the focus. Starting with the initial idea, through the definition of all systems and components and their development, the field of activity extends to the commissioning of the complete system. About 15 employees are active at the headquarters in Hamburg.

About RENK Group: Headquartered in Augsburg, Germany, RENK Group is a globally leading manufacturer of high-quality transmissions, engines, hybrid drive systems, suspension systems, slide bearings, couplings and test systems. The group serves a wide range of end-markets with a particular focus on armored vehicles, defense and civil marine, power generation, plastics, oil & gas, and others. With over 3,000 employees, RENK Group generates annual revenues of over USD 950 million.

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