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ABB Solution Greens Global Shipping

Posted on July 29, 2009

The ABB solution was developed for a ro-ro (roll on-roll off) terminal at the Swedish port of Gothenburg in 2000 and was the first in the world to provide ships with high voltage electric power delivered by cable from onshore during their time in port. The ABB solution helped the Port of Gothenburg win two environmental awards, the 2008 Clean Seas Award given by Lloyd's List and the 2004 Clean Marine Award given by the European Union. The process provides a ship at berth with shore-side electrical power when its main and auxiliary engines are turned off. In this way, its equipment, refrigeration, cooling, heating and lighting can receive continuous electrical power in loading and unloading.

In total, Sweden's shore-to-ship electrical connections - at Gothenburg, Stockholm, Helsingborg and Pitea - save about 1,900 tonnes of fuel each year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6,000 metric tons, according to the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL). Ships plug into an onshore grid, in contrast to the previous method in which ships used their auxiliary diesel engines to generate electricity in port, consuming large volumes of fuel and emitting high levels of greenhouse gases and noise. The Gothenburg installation has been so successful that an additional three terminals at the port have since been equipped with the ABB solution, helping the port authority to become the international benchmark for shore-to-ship power supply.

Providing shore-side electrical power is also known as "cold ironing," refering to a time when ships had coal-fired iron engines. Ships docked in port, turned off the engines and let them go cold, hence the term. "Shore-side electricity has a large potential to reduce the impact from shipping on health and on the enviironment," IVL research Erik Fridell told a conference on shore connections at Northern Maritime University in May 2009. "The main advantage is the reduction in emissions of toxic gases in port cities."

Harbor facilities around the world have begun to take a closer look at shore-to-ship connections as a means to reduce emissions from ships in port and improve air quality in surrounding communities. Shore connections are now available at ports in the United States, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle and Juneau, in Canada at Vancouver, and in Europe at ports in Germany, Sweden, Finland and Holland. In the U.K. the port of Southhampton announced in July 2009 it will also consider implementing shore-to-ship electrical connections for cruise vessels in port.

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