Christening of eWolf is the beginning of vessel electrification era in the U.S.

The christening of the ABB-powered all-electric tug eWolf earlier this week at the Port of San Diego has marked a new chapter in vessel electrification in the United States.

Courtesy of ABB

Owned and operated by Crowley, eWolf was delivered to its owner in January this year.

The all-electric ship assist harbor tugboat was christened earlier this week in California.

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The tug features an end-to-end electric propulsion system from ABB including a 6.2-megawatt-hour energy storage system (ESS). This allows the vessel to achieve 70 short tons of bollard pull with zero emissions and complete a full day of work on a single charge. Given electricity is cheaper to produce on shore than onboard a vessel, the ESS also minimizes operating costs, according to ABB.

The eWolf is expected to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the port area of San Diego, replacing a tug that consumed over 30,000 gallons of diesel per year. Crowley selected ABB as the full systems integrator for eWolf.

The vessel was designed by Crowley’s engineering services group in collaboration with ABB and built by Alabama-based Master Boat Builders. The eWolf was developed through a partnership among the Port of San Diego, San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Maritime Administration.

“The eWolf’s ground-breaking design and innovative technology is a milestone for the entire maritime industry, showing that high performance and zero-emissions can serve ship operators’ modern supply chain needs,” Cole Van Gundy, Vice President, Crowley engineering services, commented.

“The first all-electric ship assist tug was achieved through collaboration that spanned across the industry and government sectors, showing the power of public-private partnerships to produce the advances that will lead the cleaner, more powerful future in maritime.”

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“We’re thrilled to see the first all-electric tug in the U.S. enter into service in the Port of San Diego as it checks off a signature goal of our Maritime Clean Air Strategy,” Chairman Frank Urtasun, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners, said.

“The eWolf adds to the work the Port and our partners are doing to significantly reduce emissions on and around San Diego Bay and demonstrates our commitment to clean, efficient maritime operations.”

In addition to the ESS, ABB supplied its Onboard DC Grid power distribution platform for optimized energy use, the ABB Ability Marine Diagnostic system for continuous preventive and predictive monitoring of equipment, and ABB Ability Marine Pilot products to enhance safety and reduce crew workload. ABB’s scope of supply also covered transformers, propulsion motors, azimuthing thrusters, and low-voltage switchboards alongside design support, engineering, project management, and commissioning.

“We pioneered the first fully electric ferries built in the United States and have now successfully delivered the country’s first electric tug. We are thrilled to have collaborated with Crowley engineering services on the development of eWolf from concept to delivery. Crowley’s values are well in line with our own as we continue working towards maritime decarbonization while maintaining crew safety. The collaboration was therefore a great success,” Bruce Strupp, Vice President Marine Systems US & Canada, ABB Marine & Ports, commented.