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Switzerland-based power and automation technology group ABB has secured approval in principle from classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) to use its onboard DC grid power distribution systems for marine applications.

ABS subjected the system to a series of tests to find out whether it meets current marine industry standards, requirements and safety levels. The approval process allows ABB to support and streamline the design, approval, execution and inspection of new projects.

ABB marine and cranes business unit head Heikki Soljama said that the implications and importance of the approval in principle put ABB in a particularly advantageous position in the global marine market for the onboard DC grid solution.

“Our clients can feel comfortable that the solution can be applied to their next project and the basic concept acceptance and the clear path toward final classification approval for construction has been obtained,” Soljama added.

ABB’s onboard DC grid propulsion system allows generators to operate at variable speeds, thereby offering up to 20% fuel savings over traditional plants. It also saves space, improves dynamic response and reduces emissions.

The system allows other DC energy sources such as solar panels, fuel cells or batteries to be integrated into the ship’s DC electrical system, thus offering more fuel saving options.

The first ship to be powered with ABB’s onboard DC grid system was platform support vessel Dina Star, which was delivered to Norwegian offshore owner Myklebusthaug Offshore by Kleven Yard in April 2013.

Image: ABB first deployed its onboard DC grid propulsion system on platform support vessel Dina Star. Photo: courtesy of ABB.