Swiss technology company ABB Group has outlined its involvement in the newbuilding LNG-powered tug under construction for operation in the Port of Singapore.

Port of Singapore is making the news in promoting sustainable operations (ABB)

Port of Singapore is making the news in promoting sustainable operations (ABB)

Last month MJ reported on Port of Singapore’s involvement in future technologies with its work on autonomous tug operations. It is unsurprising therefore to hear of its activities in the field of sustainable operations with South Asia’s first LNG hybrid tug.

The vessel is currently under construction at Sembcorp Marine shipyard for its subsidiary company Jurong Marine Services and is due for delivery by the end of 2020 for operation in Singapore.

ABB’s electric propulsion, power energy storage, control and automatic technology will be at the heart of the tug which will be capable of switching between low-emission LNG gas engines and zero-emission battery power. The installation will see first use of ABB’s Onboard DC Grid for a tug application allowing the vessel to deploy 904kWh of battery power for activities including peak-shaving.

ABB sees the use of different energy mixes as “future-proofing” while enabling tugs and other port service vessels to face imminent environmental restrictions including IMO’s aims to halve ship CO2 emissions by 2050.

Gas-fuelled engines face challenges handling fast-changing load requirements but by leveraging the Onboard DC Grid the tug’s engines will be able to run at variable speeds for optimised LNG fuel economy at each load level.

Integration of different systems and technologies is clearly important with ABB stating that additionally, through integration with an energy storage source, the batteries will be able to provide power to the tug’s propulsion almost instantaneously. The LNG engines will not have to be tied to a fixed speed against dynamic loads but able to provide energy at variable revolutions per minute further enhancing efficiency, responsiveness, and operational sustainability.

ABB’s scope of equipment supply includes the DC drives for the PTI/PTO variable speed shaft generator, which integrates with the energy storage battery.

ABB applies its technologies to a number of diverse industries, its activities in the marine sector covering segments such as offshore, ice-classed, passenger, cargo, special purpose, short distance, and naval vessels. A recent whitepaper exploring the subject of electric towboats concluded the US inland river market is ready for electric propulsion.

By Peter Barker