Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution Repowers Boat with Volvo Penta Diesel Sterndrives

(CHESAPEAKE, Va.) – August 22, 2017 – When the Panama-based Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution (STRI) decided to repower their 11-year-old launch Morpho, as good scientists they researched the alternatives thoroughly before selecting a triple Volvo Penta diesel sterndrive rig for the boat.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution Repowers Boat with Volvo Penta Diesel Sterndrives

Constructed in 2005, the 48-ft. Morpho makes daily runs for scientists and visitors between the STRI laboratory facility in Gamboa and the Barro Colorado Island nature sanctuary in the Panama Canal waterway. The boat was recently repowered with three Volvo Penta D6 330-horsepower diesel Aquamatic engines with DPH Duoprop drives. The installations were performed by Volvo Penta’s application engineering together with Volvo Penta dealer Comercial de Motores – CDM.

Luis Zambrano, STRI maintenance supervisor, spearheaded the project. “The engines were chosen based on the reported reliability, fuel economy, performance and the support we received from CDM,” he explained.

The Volvo Penta D6 engines feature common-rail fuel injection, double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, a turbocharger and an aftercooler. They are rated to EPA Tier 3 emission standards.

Zambrano said they were pleasantly surprised when they discovered the Volvo Penta D6s were a good deal smaller than the engines they replaced, giving more room around the engine compartment for easier access and maintenance.

Another surprise was the dramatic boost in performance and fuel economy. “During the sea trials, we discovered the boat was cruising at 38 to 39 knots. We could not reach more than 23 knots with the old package. Now operators of the boat are fighting to be the one at the helm due to its performance,” said Zambrano, who also observed that the boat is consuming 50 percent less fuel. Less fuel means lower emissions as well. “The D6s are much quieter too,” he added.

“We have been receiving good customer support from CDM, who has a reasonable amount of spare parts in stock and trained technicians available,” Zambrano said.

“Special thanks to our outstanding team at CDM, who played a key role in this repowering project and provides ongoing support to the customer,” said Dave Brown, director of marine commercial sales for Volvo Penta of the Americas.  “This triple installation validates the unique combination of power, performance, fuel economy and durability offered by Volvo Penta’s diesel sterndrive packages.”

About The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution (STRI) in Panama is a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution dedicated to understanding biological diversity. What began in 1923 as a small field station on Barro Colorado Island has developed into one of the leading research institutions of the world. STRI’s facilities provide a unique opportunity for long-term ecological studies in the tropics, and are used extensively by some 900 visiting scientists from academic and research institutions in the United States and around the world every year. Based in Panama, STRI conducts research throughout the tropics in 14 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

About Volvo Penta
Volvo Penta, with approximately 3,500 dealers in over 130 countries, is a world-leading and global manufacturer of engines and complete power systems for boats, vessels and industrial applications. The engine program comprises diesel and gasoline engines with power outputs of between 10 and 1,000 hp. Volvo Penta is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of heavy trucks, buses and construction equipment.

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For further information, please contact:
Christine Carlson 
Volvo Penta of the Americas
Phone: +1 (757) 382 4084

Jim Rhodes
Rhodes Communications, Inc.
Phone: +1 (757) 451 0602