Exmar expedites ABB shore connection for energy security and green transition

Exmar expedites ABB shore connection for energy security and green transition

Europe’s energy transition and energy security have driven different news narratives over the last 18 months, but a fast-track installation of emissions-free shore connection technology indicates that the two stories can overlap.

In a timely response to the disruption of Europe’s piped gas supply chain, the Dutch government and energy network operator Gasunie are exploring ways to increase the Netherlands’ liquefied natural gas (LNG) import capacity in the short term. As a first step, Gasunie subsidiary ‘EemsEnergyTerminal’ has developed a floating LNG terminal at Eemshaven in Groningen province. Belgium's Exmar group chartered a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU). ABB has been involved in installing the high voltage connection on board to Gasunie’s high voltage shore power system. ABB’s shore connection solutions allow a vessel’s energy load to be transferred to the shoreside source in a secure, automated manner, without disruption to onboard services. Environmental criteria demanded shore power in so that the FSRU could shut down its dual fuel engines in port.

Construction of the floating LNG terminal was and is a necessary intervention to ensure sufficient natural gas. There’s no doubt that the terminal has made us less dependent on Russian gas in the Netherlands and Europe. The Gasunie-operated LNG terminal, which has been transported by ship to Eemshaven, receives fuel in liquid form from LNG carriers and converts liquefied natural gas back to gaseous state, preparing it for transportation through the country's underground gas infrastructure. EemsEnergyTerminal offers capacity to supply an additional 8 billion m3 of regasified product to The Netherlands every year. Gasunie's future plans also include using Eemshaven to import green hydrogen.

From plan to completion in only 6 months
The urgency of completing the project within 6 months and its complexity to implement the Gasunie shore power system into the existing on board power management system, offered ABB Marine & Ports Netherlands an exceptional opportunity to demonstrate its capabilities as a supplier that helps shipping meet its decarbonization targets. Local authorities also specified emissions-free shore power to ensure the production process meets the environmental needs of the surrounding community.

With ABB Marine & Ports Netherlands involved in the ship-side shore connection project from the basic design stage onwards, the ABB combination of technology, hardware, software and systems integration enables all shipboard electrical systems to draw power from the local grid, for a total power consumption of 12MW.

Moving from the first customer inquiry in February 2022 to project delivery by March 2023 also brought a speedy addition to ABB’s unrivalled shore connection reference list, emphasizing its efficiency and reliability in an area of increasing priority for shipping, ports and shoreside communities.

“This project was delivered to a tight schedule and called for readiness to adapt to rapidly changing plans,“ comments Joris Verhagen, Project Manager, Exmar. “Its success is in large part due to our collaboration with ABB, whose team showed commitment, expertise, flexibility and professionalism throughout, always putting the customer first and finding the best solutions to meet requirements. Three months after commissioning, the system has also proven to be highly reliable and easy to operate.“

In detail, the Bureau Veritas-approved ship-side installation includes a High Voltage Shore Connection (HVSC) system which links to the Gasunie’s 16MVA Onshore Power Supply System. Due to lack of space in the existing machinery rooms, the incoming 6.6V switchboard is in a custom-built containerized ‘eHouse’ on the aft deck. Shore connection control is also seamlessly integrated with the FSRU’s existing Power Management System. A second FSRU, Energos Igloo, is also operational at Eemshaven and features ABB on-board shore connection technology.

eHouse (container) ready to be installed on the aft deck.
eHouse (container) ready to be installed on the aft deck.
“Each shore connection success restates the value and benefits of this sustainable technology, paving the way for more installations to come,” said Frans Baartmans, Manager Projects & Engineering, ABB Marine & Ports Netherlands. “ABB has been helping its shipping and port customers avoid emissions by connecting berthed ships to shore power for over 20 years. We are proud to have contributed to this strategically important project for European energy security and add this to our reference list.”

Building on its early successes in the cruise and ferry sectors, ABB shore connection is establishing itself as a mainstream option for merchant ships. As a leader in electric shipping and smart port technology, ABB offers a comprehensive range of shore connection solutions to owners and terminal operators, comprising state-of-the-art infrastructure both onshore and on board vessels. Its shore-to-ship power solutions have already been integrated by over 50 ports worldwide.


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