ABB drives and motors improve energy efficiency in live fish transport vessels in Chile

Collaboration between three companies – ABB, shipbuilder Asenav, and live fish transport service Patagonia Wellboat – is boosting the sustainability of aquaculture in southern Chile. The latest addition to Patagonia Wellboat’s fleet is the Patagón IX, which uses ABB drives and propulsion motors.

Wellboats are vessels with a well or tank for the storage and transport of live fish, and the Patagonia Wellboat company is a pioneer in this field in Chile.

“Patagonia Wellboat started its operations in 1995, initially offering cargo transport services. A couple of years later the company switched its focus to the transport of live fish. One of its most important milestones was the launch of Chile’s first wellboat, the Patagón, which made its first trip with a live harvest in 1999,” said Valentín Guiraldes, marine construction engineer at Patagonia Wellboat.

“Based on many years of experience – both operating wellboats and looking for innovative ways to achieve sustainable aquaculture – we’ve added the Patagón IX to our fleet. This new vessel has propulsion motors and drives from ABB, together with a PMS (Power Management System) to efficiently manage energy usage,” he added.

The boat was built by Asenav, a pioneering company that produced the first wellboat in Chile in 2001. That vessel was also built for Patagonia Wellboats and it was named the Patagón III. To date, Asenav has constructed nine wellboats, which are operating in Chile and elsewhere.

“The main challenge for wellboats is the efficient use of energy, due to the different operations these vessels perform,” said Ricardo Contreras, Projects Manager of Asenav. “Looking for ways to overcome this challenge and deliver added value in our vessels, we have been working with ABB and its products since 2011. The Patagón IX is the most recent result of our collaboration, and it proves that with ABB’s help we can reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions,” he explained.

  • The main propulsion system of Patagonia Wellboat's Patagón IX is based on two ABB ACS880 drives and two low voltage motors rated at 1000 kW each. Both the drives and motors are water cooled.
  • Patagón IX
  • Patagón IX

"Asenav contacted us with the challenge of electrifying its propulsion system,” said José Simpson, Division Manager, System Drives at ABB in Chile. “The aim was to significantly improve the system’s dynamic response and, through increased efficiency, reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions."

ABB’s experts in Chile studied the information provided and – taking into consideration Asenav’s own history and experience – came up with a recommendation from ABB’s industrial range that would meet all the technical requirements. “We offered our ACS880 regenerative drives and low voltage motors, both the drives and motors being water cooled, with specialized local ABB services to assist with safe and reliable commissioning,” José Simpson stated.

The experts further confirmed that the suggested solution would ensure the correct overall dimensioning of the power train: “Weather conditions on the southern coasts of Chile are often harsh, and the proposed solution ensures that the crew is able to maneuver the wellboat in all conditions.”

Collaboration between the three companies resulted in an increase in maneuverability, which positively impacts the vessel’s operational characteristics and reduces production costs. As of today, Asenav has already built five vessels with ABB propulsion solutions.


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