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Onboard DC Grid™

Did you know…
… direct current (DC) power is making it easier for ships to use clean energy and adapt to new energy sources in the future?

Responding to the growing need for climate action, the maritime industry is working towards reducing emissions and transitioning to clean sources of energy. Already today, small- to medium-sized ships that operate over shorter distances and with predictable routes can run purely on electricity from batteries or fuel cells, thus reducing emissions.

Shifting to clean sources of energy also calls for a shift in the power systems vessels use. Ships need power systems that can be flexible enough to integrate a wide range of energy sources, such as batteries and fuel cells, as well as allow shipowners to add or exchange power sources as they evolve.

One such power system is ABB’s Onboard DC GridTM, which is based on DC – the power behind sustainable transportation. Electric cars, e-bikes and e-scooters also use DC as they are powered by batteries.

The switch to a DC-based power system from conventional ones that use alternating current (AC) comes with additional benefits. The system needs fewer components like transformers and converters than an AC solution, creating significant weight and space savings – in one example as high as 75 percent. These savings allow ships to carry more cargo and to have more flexibility in placing other equipment and systems on board.

A DC power system also provides an ideal platform for digital solutions. Hence DC systems are easing the way for ship and shore-based performance optimization and other digital services such as remote support.

ABB delivered the first modern DC solution in 2013 for an offshore supply ship which today is the longest operating DC system. ABB’s Onboard DC Grid has been installed on vessels ranging from small tugs to ferries and large wind farm support vessels.

Key facts:

  • Enables easy use of clean energy
  • Saves space of up to 75 percent
  • Installed on a wide range of vessels

Discover more about Onboard DC Grid™

More fascinating facts you may not know