Switch claims electronic bus link first


What is claimed as the world’s first Electronic Bus Link (EBL) from Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch has been successfully commissioned on the subsea construction vessel North Sea Giant.

The technology, a key element in a retrofitted Wärtsilä hybrid solution, connects the 18,151gt 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.

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Asbjørn Halsebakke, Product Manager of Marine Drives, Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch Norway

“This is a milestone for all the partners involved in this unique, collaborative project, but also for the shipping industry as a whole,” commented 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 and reduced maintenance needs, as well as reduced emissions. Additionally, the hybrid system increases 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,” commented 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.

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