Reduced Fuel Costs

The R/V Palmetto, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ (SCDNR) floating research laboratory, repowered this past summer with twin Volvo Penta D16 MH 600-horsepower engines.
Capt. Chris Brown, with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources stands in front of the R/V Palmetto

Capt. Chris Brown, with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

The vessel was completely refitted with Volvo Penta as the engine of choice, with Superior Diesel Inc. (SDI) supporting the maintenance and service of the engines. SDI recommended the engines because of Volvo’s competitive pricing over other commercial marine engine manufacturers, and they feel they are the most robust 13- to 16-liter commercial engines on the market, especially at the bottom end. 

“I have nothing but good things to say about the Volvos. The Palmetto is performing better than ever, and I have picked up more than two knots at top-end speed,” says Palmetto Captain Chris Brown. “We’re burning almost half the fuel as our old engines. There is no smoke, even after running at trolling speed for hours.” 

The combination of fuel savings and added power allows Captain Brown and his crew to conduct research from Cape Hatteras to Palm Beach with no trouble at all. Since the new engines are smaller in size, they’ve gained additional space in the engine room, which makes service easier. 

“We have just passed the 500-hour mark, with 33 days offshore. We are using less lube oil and are leak free. SDI and Volvo Penta are a great fit for the R/V Palmetto and the state of South Carolina,” says Brown.

Launched in 1987 by the SCDNR, the vessel operates from May to November in depths up to 1,000 feet, and as far as 100 miles off shore, where the crew collects and tests water samples, monitors fish populations in natural and man-made habitats, and more. In the average year, the vessel spends 85 days at sea. ■