ABB power and remote monitoring systems for fully-electric ferry

Artist's impression of the new fully-electric ferry. PHOTO: Polarkonsult

Marine technology group ABB is to supply a range of remote monitoring technology and a complete power and electric storage system to a new fully-electric ferry to be operated by the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration, which is planned to take 3,600 annual trips between Landeyjahöfn on the mainland and the Westman Island, covering the 13km distance in about 45 minutes.

The 70m-long ferry, with a capacity of 550 passengers and 75 cars, has been designed by Polarkonsult and is due for delivery from the Crist S.A. shipyard in 2019.

The vessel will feature a 3000kWh battery pack and is designed to operate in fully-electric mode most of time, with onshore charging in both harbours. During particularly challenging weather conditions, when the consumption of battery power may exceed the available energy, the ferry will utilise a diesel-electric generator set.

The ferry will also be connected to ABB’s Ability Collaborative Centres Infrastructure, a technology and decision support network using remote equipment monitoring and data analytics to enable remote technical support, as well as predictive maintenance and planned interventions.

The new ferry will replace the 1992-built MF Herjólfur, in line with Iceland’s ongoing initiatives to promote electric modes of transportation, with 80% of Iceland’s energy now coming from non-fossil resources such as hydropower and geothermal energy.

“Opting for ABB’s electric solutions allows the vessel to meet design constraints that initially seem in conflict: it is optimised for cleaner operation and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, whilst power is sufficient to navigate some very hazardous waters safely,” said Sigurdur Gretarsson, Director of Maritime Division, Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration.

The new ferry should also improve the reliability of the transport service, in addition to its positive environmental impact. Previously, during rough weather, the ferry operating the route would travel to an alternative harbour to dock safely, extending the sailing time from 45 minutes to close to three hours.

The new ferry will be able to enter the destination harbour in challenging weather conditions most of the time, ABB says, with the rare exception of particularly rough seas.

“Selection of ABB’s technologies for a vessel operating on such a tough route, where the water depth is sometimes limited to 4.5 metres, but wave heights can reach 3.5 metres, sets a new benchmark for battery power on board a ship,” said Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports.

“In line with our vision for electric, digital and connected shipping, this project demonstrates how system integration – whether on board the ship or between the ship’s crew and shoreside expertise – is a key success factor for vessel management.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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