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Swiss-Swedish group ABB supplies propulsion and power for Singapore LNG and battery tug

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Swiss-Swedish company ABB said it was chosen to provide the electric propulsion and power distribution package for Southeast Asia’s first liquefied natural gas hybrid tug ordered to operate in the Port of Singapore.

ABB said its equipment, including energy storage, control and automation technology will be at the heart of the first tug capable of switching between low-emission LNG engines and zero-emission battery power.

The tug, which will operate in Singapore harbour, has been ordered by Sembcorp Marine subsidiary Jurong Marine Services for delivery from the Singapore shipyard by the end of 2020.

LNG as a fuel virtually eliminates sulphur-oxide emissions, while the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is also incentivizing its use to support the International Maritime Organization’s aims to halve ship carbon-dioxide emissions in the years ahead.

ABB said the project represents the first delivery of ABB’s award-winning power and distribution system, the Onboard DC Grid, for a tug application.

Leveraging the system, the vessel will be able to deploy 904 kilowatt hours of battery power for zero-emission operations, as well as for peak shaving, improving utilization of electricity use on board.

“This is a breakthrough in the tug market for the ABB’s energy storage technologies and a strong validation of Onboard DC Grid™ as the ultimate solution for power management efficiency for hybrid propulsion,” said Juha Koskela, Managing Director of ABB Marine & Ports.

“Future-proofing for a different energy mix makes particular sense for tugs and other port service vessels, as the most likely candidates to face imminent environmental restriction, added Koskela.

“This is also a great example of a local team meeting a regional priority,” he stated.

ABB noted that gas-fueled engines face a particular challenge when it comes to handling the fast-changing load capabilities demanded by tugs.

“Leveraging the Onboard DC Grid system, the tug’s engines will be able to run at variable speeds for optimized LNG fuel economy at each load level,” said the company.

“Additionally, through integration with an energy storage source, the batteries will be able to provide power to the tug’s propulsion system almost instantaneously,” added ABB.