ABB to power world’s first hybrid-electric biomass fuel carriers

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The Japanese Shipowners’ Association’s zero-GHG initiative e5 Lab, a consortium comprising Asahi Tanker Co, Exeno Yamamizu Corp, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Mitsubishi Corp, has unveiled ROBOSHIP – a design for a biomass fuel carrier, powered by a fully standardized, electric propulsion system to attain zero emission operations at harbour.

Built by Honda Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., the 70-metre length, 499-gross ton carrier will be equipped with ABB’s complete modularized electrical propulsion package, enabling it to utilize multiple energy sources for optimized operational efficiency and emissions-free operations. Additional benefits of the system include reduced noise and vibration, lower maintenance costs, and improved steering capabilities that make pier docking and undocking operations easier.

“The collaboration with ABB has been beyond our expectations in delivering world-leading technology and efficiency, the ultimate in safety and reliability, specific size and weight reductions, that is unique to coastal vessels.” said Mr Yasumasa Suetsugu, Chief Technology Officer, e5 Lab.

“Furthermore, the high digital compatibility will help reduce both operations and maintenance costs. Our goal is to make a significant contribution to resolving the environmental challenges and reducing crew workload which face coastal shipping in Japan.”

Mr Masao Akamatsu, President, IHI Power Systems, commented: “Our marine power systems team chose to work with ABB based on their excellent global reputation as an integrator of marine electrical systems and reliable, high quality products and services.”

“We are honoured to have been selected for this ground-breaking project that will play a significant part in the efforts to decarbonize Japanese shipping,” said Juha Koskela, Division President, ABB Marine & Ports. “Electric-powered ships are key to the shipping industry’s sustainable future – and we take pride in providing our customers with highly efficient electric propulsion solutions that are compliant with today’s regulations and allow integrating with emissions-free energy sources in the future.”

ABB’s award-winning Onboard DC Grid™ power distribution system is modular and can be built to suit various vessel types – from largest ocean-going ships to smaller lower-power vessels operating over shorter distances and on inland waterways. The solution future-proofs ships to draw on clean energy sources for zero-emissions operations – without compromising speed or sailing range.

Onboard DC Grid™ also reduces the footprint of the electrical equipment by eliminating the need for bulky transformers and main switchboards. This creates more space for cargo, provides greater flexibility in the positioning of system components on board the vessel and increases payload capacity.

ABB’s full scope of supply includes a standard system package comprising the hardware for electric propulsion, including propulsion motors, DSC switchboards, energy storage batteries and generators, and ABB Ability™ Marine Remote Diagnostic System for continuous monitoring and remote support.

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