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, but a couple of years later the company switched focus to the transport of live fish. One of our 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 better efficiency – we’ve added the Patagón IX to our fleet. This new vessel has propulsion motors and drives from ABB, together with a Power Management System to efficiently manage energy usage,” he added.
Since the introduction of the Patagón IX, Patagonia Wellboat has benefited from improved energy efficiency with a significant reduction in fuel consumption, saving up to 20% of diesel fuel per year. In addition to improving energy use, the electric propulsion system improves productivity and safety by allowing greater maneuverability in the very demanding environment.
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.
The main challenge for wellboats is the efficient use of energy due to the different operations these vessels perform
“The main challenge for wellboats is the efficient use of energy, due to the different operations these vessels perform, often in demanding weather conditions,” said Ricardo Contreras, Project Manager of Asenav, builder of the Patagón IX. “Finding ways to overcome this challenge, we have been working with ABB and its products for more than 10 years. In fact, we had already built four vessels with ABB propulsion solutions and the Patagón IX is the most recent result of our collaboration. It proves that with ABB’s help we can significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions from each of our vessels” he explained.
"We liaised with Asenav closely to achieve the goal of electrifying their propulsion systems,” said José Simpson, Division Manager, System Drives at ABB in Chile. “The aim was to significantly improve the system’s dynamic response from conventional propulsion systems and, through increased efficiency, reduce diesel fuel consumption to help lower overall CO2 emissions."
Experts confirmed that the suggested ABB solution would ensure the correct overall dimensioning and operation of the powertrain: “Weather conditions on the southern coasts of Chile are often harsh, and the proposed solution ensured that the crew is able to effectively maneuver the wellboat as needed in all conditions” said Asenav’s Ricardo Contreras.
Collaboration between the three companies has resulted in increased maneuverability of the vessels, which positively impacts the operational characteristics, whilst reducing production costs.