Finland, April 15, 2019 – The world’s first Electronic Bus Link (EBL) from Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch has been successfully commissioned on North Sea Giant. The technology, a key element in a retrofitted Wärtsilä hybrid solution, connects the 18,151 GWT subsea construction vessel’s DC-Hubs, providing complete redundancy, enhanced efficiency and significant fuel savings. Thanks to the EBL, the advanced DP3-class vessel can now conduct demanding operations using just one engine, instead of the previous standard of three.
“This is a milestone for all the partners involved in this unique, collaborative project, but also for the shipping industry as a whole,” comments Asbjørn Halsebakke, Director Technical Solutions, Marine Business at Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch.
The Wärtsilä hybrid power system operates in combination with energy producers (diesel generators) and energy storage (batteries), along with the EBL from Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch. This allows the vessel’s owner to benefit from improved efficiency, reduced maintenance needs as well as reduced emissions. Additionally, this hybrid system increases the operational flexibility.
“With this system and its successful commissioning, North Sea Giant has become the first construction vessel of this size to run a hybrid system, and the first with DP3-class approval to operate with just one engine and batteries. The savings – in terms of fuel, emissions and maintenance – are game-changing. The EBL is a component that the whole system depends upon.”
The EBL connects the vessel DC-Hubs, while also rapidly disconnecting them in 10 microseconds to isolate potential faults and ensure seamless operations. As such, it provides complete redundancy and guaranteed selectivity between DC-Hubs, ensuring ultimate availability of power and safe ongoing operations.
Although perfectly suited to the stringent demands of DP vessels, the technology can be used in any ship type to unlock efficiencies, savings and increased reliability. As such, Halsebakke sees the EBL as “perfect” for shipowners targeting enhanced sustainability, operational uptime and cost control.
“The technology is now installed, rigorously tested, with supervision from DNV GL, and is already demonstrating its compelling benefits,” comments Paul Atherton, General Manager Operation Unit Norway, Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch. “We believe this is the first of many EBLs, and we’d like to thank our partners – shipowner North Sea Shipping and system supplier Wärtsilä – for their collaboration on this ground-breaking project.”
The final commissioning of the system took place in Haugesund, Norway, in the first half of March. North Sea Shipping is forecasting significant environmental benefits from the new hybrid solution, with estimated annual emission reductions of 5.5 million kg CO2, 30,000 kg NOx and 1,200 kg SOx.
Halsebakke concludes by saying that Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch is now targeting orders from marine customers across the board, with interest from segments including offshore, ferries, rig and tanker ships, among others.
“For owners that want to optimize efficiency, operational uptime, cost control and reduce environmental footprint, The Switch Electronic Bus Link (EBL) is the perfect solution,” says Asbjørn Halsebakke. The North Sea Giant EBL order is the company’s first for this breakthrough product.