Benefits of hybrid and electrification discussed

The benefits of adopting new hybrid and electric solutions are now better understood, and the logistics associated with their adoption are not just about the ships themselves.

Port electrification may be the most important factor when it comes to how and where hybrid and electric vessels can be deployed. Thus, it is imperative that port infrastructure continues evolve.

What are some of the energy storage solutions available for ships? What design considerations are used when developing charging solutions? How does legislation drive this development?

At North America Electric and Hybrid Marine Show held earlier this month in Houston, an expert explored what those short- and long-term answers look like.

Jude Tomdio, Principal Electrical Engineer at United States Bureau of Navigation (ABS), Houston, provided a powerful perspective on why organizations are embarking on a potentially challenging path to electrification.

Tomido explained that the three ultimate motivations relate to environmental, business and legislative factors. Commercially, fuel costs, maintenance and the proliferation of vessel hybridization are critical, he said. Legislatively, IMO requirements and established Federal/State emission requirements have become much more stringent. Some states will soon require ships and ports to change the way they operate.

“In California, failure to comply with specific elements of the rule constitutes a separate violation for each calendar day,” Tomdio said.

Where do we actually see these differences? Green infrastructure can be seen with the all-electric Port of Los Angeles crane, all-electric terminal tractors in Philadelphia, Long Beach, California and Tacoma, Washington, and shore power facilities in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and various other cities. The EPA has an Electrification Tools Finder that allows anyone to see everything that is being done:

James Dumont, Director, Ports and Fleets at Momentum, Sacremento, Calif., detailed how his organization has helped stakeholders design, develop and deploy green solutions for more than 450 successful projects with a collective value of over $6 billion. He discussed the different organizations developers should have on their shortlist. Major funding partners include federal and state agencies, as well as local partners.

Dumont described these efforts as critical when it comes to the proliferation of electric solutions, because the question of which comes first with ships or electric infrastructure is an easy answer.

“The infrastructure has to be in place before any of these electrical solutions will work,” Dumont said. “You can’t really use an electric car without space to charge it. The same goes for ships on the water.

Guillaume Clément, vice-president e-marine at Norway AS, Oslo, Norway, described how his company has proven the value of electrical solutions. While he highlighted specific examples to show how all-electric ferries are the cheapest solutions, he also explained how electrifying ships and ports reduces greenhouse gases. The specific differences that battery safety systems can afford are stark, and Clement has shown the value they have for various ships in fleets around the world.

“Complete systems can be up to 65% smaller, 50% more efficient, 60% lighter, and 55% less grid-intensive,” Clement said.

Eileen Tausch, Senior Electrical Engineer at Crowley Expeditionprovided information about the electronic wolf, the first all-electric harbor tug to comply with the Jones Act. It is designed to replace conventional tugs that consume over 30,000 gallons. of diesel per year.

Tausch also discussed plans for a Crowley charging station. Currently under design, construction should begin in 2023 and be ready when the electronic wolf arrived. Adoption will be that much easier with this kind of infrastructure, even if it is only the beginning.

“This refueling station is just part of our vision for a future port with hydrogen storage locations, refueling facilities, clean energy scrubbing barges and more,” said Tausch said.

Dr Makhlouf Benatmane, leader in marine marine solutions with GE power conversion in the UK, discussed the importance of networks, in particular the energy network. To be effective, renewables need microgrids and energy storage, not just grid distribution, he said. This will require thinking about ships and the network itself in new ways.

“An electric ship is a microgrid in its own right,” Benatmane said. “They will integrate new generation electrics. With more ships electrified, we can create custom networks that enable flexibility, efficiency, sustainability and reduced emissions.

After the presentations, most of the presenters took part in a panel moderated by Galen Hon, Director of the PoliSea Group.

“This wide-ranging discussion really shows how important this topic is and how much work needs to be done,” Hon said. “This work however cannot take place in silos, so I encourage everyone to continue to share their insights and learnings with our wider community to ensure our ports are configured to support the latest generation of sustainable ships.”