ABB to power Japan’s first electric tug

Switzerland-based technology company ABB has been contracted by power generation products manufacturer Japanese IHI Power Systems to provide propulsion solution for the electric tug for the ports of Tokyo Bay.

Tokyo Kisen
Courtesy of Tokyo Kisen

The electric tugboat Taiga is the result of a collaboration between towage specialist Tokyo Kisen and e5 Lab, a Japanese consortium with the purpose of planning and developing fully electric vessels.

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Constructed at the Kanagawa Dockyard at Kobe, the tug is due for delivery by end of December 2022, becoming the first vessel of its kind to operate in Japanese waters.

It will feature ABB’s power system platform Onboard DC Grid with a high battery capacity. Leveraging Onboard DC Grid, the tug’s engines will be able to run at variable speeds for optimized energy economy at each load level. This helps cut fuel consumption, reducing the environmental impact as a result.

The batteries will be able to provide power to the tug’s propulsion system almost instantaneously, where ABB’s Power and Energy Management System (PEMS) will control the overall power distribution.

Designed to enable zero-emission operations in harborside environments, the tug delivers superior performance while supporting Japan’s ambition of achieving net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping by 2050.

Tokyo Kisen’s harbor tug will be used to maneuver other vessels by pushing or towing them with 2.5-megawatt-hour battery systems supplied and integrated by ABB, reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a day-to-day basis, and acting as spinning reserve back-up power to prevent prolonged outages.

The tug’s future-proof configuration also enables it to achieve emission-free operations by integrating alternative energy sources as technologies mature.

“ABB is honored to be involved in such a prominent project to power the first electric tugboat for Japan,” Munekazu Tanikawa, Local Division Manager, ABB Marine & Ports, said.