In March 2013, ABB delivered our first Onboard DC Grid system on the MPSV Dina Star, making Myklebusthaug Management the first in the world with an IMO vessel powered by a modern primary DC power system. The main focus at the time was variable speed generators, space savings and dynamic performance. The world is changing and the shipping industry with it.
What is special about DC?
A DC-based power system enables simple, flexible and functional integration of energy sources such as variable speed gensets and shaft generators, batteries and fuel cells. Also, a DC and power-electronics based power system provides a unique platform for digital solutions onboard a vessel. Equipped with sensors and communication infrastructure, data is transmitted between systems in an instance. This gives access to information that enable the bridge to monitor and optimize their performance. And, better connectivity between ship and shore mean that performance management is taken to the next level.
Onboard DC Grid is gaining traction in a wide range of vessel types, and the reason for this varies. Ferries choose it because it is the most cost efficient and functional platform for integrating energy storage, making hybrid and fully electric operation a reality. Offshore support vessels choose it primarily for the heightened fault tolerance, variable speed generators and ease of energy storage integration, whilst a couple of icebreakers needed a way of fitting an otherwise too large electric power plant within the confines of their hulls.
Shuttle-tankers will choose it for simple and functional integration of variable speed shaft generators and, right around the corner, expedition cruises for its suitability to integrate batteries and fuel cells for extended zero-emissions operation in sensitive areas. The larger of these vessels will also enjoy the possibility of distributing main power at 1000Vdc instead of 690 or 660Vac, representing savings of up 40% or more on cabling.