ABB propulsion for world’s 1st hybrid-electric biomass fuel carrier

Swedish-Swiss technology company ABB has been selected by Japan’s IHI Power Systems to deliver complete modularized electric propulsion package for the world’s first hybrid-electric biomass fuel carrier.

Courtesy of e5 Lab, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding

Initiated by Japanese shipping consortium e5 Lab Inc., the ROBOSHIP vessel supports Japan’s ambitions for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The consortium, which comprises Asahi Tanker, Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Mitsubishi Corporation, aims to develop renewably powered commercial ships.

The consortium recently unveiled ROBOSHIP – a design for a biomass fuel carrier, powered by a fully standardized, electric propulsion system to attain zero-emission operations at harbour.

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Built by Honda Heavy Industries, the 70-meter-long, 499-gross ton carrier will be equipped with ABB’s solution, 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 … technology and efficiency, the ultimate in safety and reliability, specific size and weight reductions, that is unique to coastal vessels,” Yasumasa Suetsugu, Chief Technology Officer, e5 Lab, commented.

“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.”

“We are honored to have been selected for this groundbreaking project that will play a significant part in the efforts to decarbonize Japanese shipping,” Juha Koskela, Division President, ABB Marine & Ports, said.

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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