That’s the opinion of Asbjørn Halsebakke, head of technical solutions at Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch, an electric power specialist now owned by the Japanese company Yaskawa Electric Corporation.
Most of the ports visited by these vessels do not yet have shore connections, but the vast majority of short-sea vessels also do not have their own adaptable power supply systems to carry cargo and cover the load of the hotel. Instead, they have to rely on carbon-intensive generators that affect air quality around the small communities that often surround these ports.
“Electrical power for coastal vessels making frequent port calls offers huge opportunities for reducing emissions,” Halsebakke said recently. “I believe many operators are unaware of the potential benefits – in fact, I would go so far as to suggest they are missing a tip. They are not the only ones. The designers and builders of these ships should offer integrated power systems as standard, but most do not.
“We need to be ready for new power sources on these smaller ships, and that’s where electrification systems provide opportunities for integration and future-proofing,” he continued. “Take the DC-Hub, for example. Not only is direct current more efficient in most marine applications, but the DC-Hub can integrate power from a range of sources – permanent magnet generators, batteries, fuel cells, wind, sun and power from new fuels such as ammonia and hydrogen. ”
Of course, there are also plenty of opportunities in deep-sea crafts, Halsebakke noted, such as permanent-magnet machines as a shaft generator with a DC-Hub and built-in battery banks to support the hotel loads and power requirements in ports where there are no shore connections. But he insisted that the potential for short sea shipping activities, where port calls are more frequent and provide opportunities for recharging and swapping batteries, for example, is potentially vast and available today. “It is potentially a major and immediate contributor to the decarbonization of shipping,” he said.