Electrical connections: Reducing air pollution from ship engines

U.S.and European ports enjoy higher air quality now that cruise ships connect to the local grid for power, much as airplanes do at major airports.


Seattle , WA —U.S. and European ports enjoy higher air quality now that cruise ships connect to the local grid for power, much as airplanes do at major airports. Shore-to-ship power technologies from ABB were applied to one application in Seattle, saving tons of sulfur dioxide and particulates.

ABB is supplying Holland America Line with high voltage shore connections (HVSC) to eliminate the emissions of ships berthed at Seattle’s port. ABB reportedly delivered the world’s first emissions-free HVSC in 2000, an innovation that won the customer a major European Union (EU) environmental award. Shore-to-ship power connections enable three of Holland America Line’s 13 cruise ships to plug into the local power grid and switch off their diesel engines while docked at their home port.

The high voltage shore connection enables the vessels to cut fuel costs and virtually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution during stopovers. The project included 11 kV switchgear, automation hardware and software for the ships’ power management systems, and high voltage and low voltage cables that connect the shore panel to the main switchboard and power management system onboard each vessel.

Cruise ships use vast quantities of power while in port for heating, air conditioning, and lighting for around 4,000 guests and crew. U.S. and EU port authorities and shipping operators are under increasing political pressure to improve air quality in ports, ABB says. Besides Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco also are taking steps to reduce ship emissions and lower the environmental impact of ports ahead of expected U.S. legislation that could mandate shore power connections.

According to a 2005 report by the European Union, “ships are fast becoming the biggest source of air pollution in the EU.” Unless more action is taken, the report concludes, ships are set to “emit more than all land sources combined by 2020.” According to the Seattle Port Authority, a similar Princess Shore Power Project at Port of Seattle (Princess Cruise ships) in 2005 eliminated 35 metric tons of turbine engine fuel per ship call. It also provided seasonal reductions of 7.7 tons of particulate matter, and 203.5 tons of sulfur dioxides emissions.

--Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief
Control Engineering Daily News Desk

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