Giant battery boost for North Sea Shipping

Electric bus line breakers will enable further energy efficiencies on subsea construction vessel 'North Sea Giant' (credit: Wartsila) Electric bus line breakers will enable further energy efficiencies on subsea construction vessel 'North Sea Giant' (credit: Wartsila)

A battery retrofit featuring innovative electronics will allow subsea construction vessel ‘North Sea Giant’ to perform dynamic positioning with one engine rather than three, saving up to two million litres of fuel a year.

As reported, the retrofit was expected to make the vessel the first DP3 ship to feature batteries. Following the introduction of Yaskawa Environmental Energy’s Electric Bus Link (EBL) to the market, the link breakers were introduced to the retrofit package, which was designed and engineered by Wärtsilä.

Safety requirements previously required ships to perform several operations, including DP3, with engines providing power to each grid, rather than using one engine to power the grids in series or using batteries to power each grid. But with approval from DNV GL, the ultra-fast line breaking technology deployed on North Sea Giant means that just one engine can be used, with the batteries providing redundancy.

“EBL splits the on-board grids in a matter of microseconds, isolating faults and protecting the complete operational system,” said Asbjørn Halsebakke, general manager, Yaskawa. “This offers significant savings on maintenance costs. Also, by rapidly connecting and disconnecting energy sources from one another, including batteries and engines, they can be optimised for efficiency.”

Tore Marcus, general manager, Wärtsilä Norway, explained that the ship is currently performing these operations with three engines, each supported by a battery string, while the companies await a slot in the ship’s busy charter schedule for final testing.

The installation was performed in March and the companies will need ten days to complete final tests.

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