ABB powers P&O super-ferries towards new sustainable transport era


ABB will supply P&O Ferries’ two new vessels with electric, digital and connected solutions, including Azipod propulsion and energy storage, reducing fuel consumption by one ton per return trip across the English Channel.

ABB has secured a contract with Guangzhou Shipyard International for the supply of P&O Ferries’ two new vessels with a full range of integrated solutions. Using electric power from 8.8MWh batteries and diesel generators, the hybrid propulsion solution would reduce fuel consumption by 40 percent on the Dover-Calais route of P&O Ferries.

Until more electric shore charging stations are available, the batteries will provide maximum power for port maneuvering and remain in port and will prepare the vessels for a zero-emission future.

Equipped with four Azipod propulsion units per vessel, each rated at 7.5 megawatts, when they enter service in 2023, the 230-meter long vessels will be the largest passenger and freight ferries ever to traverse the route.

According to P&O Ferries, the advantages of bridge-to-propeller integration proved decisive in choosing the hybrid solution for the new ferries.

In addition to propulsion and energy storage from Azipod, the new vessels will be fitted with a wide range of ABB solutions covering control and propulsion, automation and control management. The Power and Energy Management System (PEMS) of ABB is closely integrated with the electrical system and, by maximizing the knowledge flow through shipboard networks, ensures efficient use of the vessel’s total power resources.

“The P&O ferries under construction at the Guangzhou Shipyard International are truly iconic. We are delighted to strengthen our strategic cooperation with the technology leader ABB and to work together on this leading-edge project, considering ABB’s proven supplier status in the global ferry market.”

Zhongqian Chen, chairman of Guangzhou Shipyard International.

“We are proud to have ABB technology at the heart of P&O Ferries’ sustainability program, as it transitions to the zero-emission future envisaged for shipping.”

Juha Koskela, division president, ABB Marine & Ports.

Designed to a double-ended design where there will be a pair of Azipod units and a bridge at either end of the vessels, there will be no need to transform ships into port. On each outbound and return trip, the captain and senior officers would simply walk to the opposite bridge, saving seven minutes and one ton of fuel, a sixth of what is used on the 21-mile crossing.

The vessels will also be fitted with ABB Ability Marine Pilot Control, a smart maneuvering and control system that allows safer, more effective operations by automating some navigational tasks so that bridge officers can concentrate on maximizing the overall control and positioning of the vessel.

The engines of the vessels will be fitted with the Power2 two-stage turbocharging system from ABB that will further boost power efficiency and help achieve fuel savings of up to five percent. Moreover, the Power2 system can help minimize emissions of nitrogen oxide by up to 60 percent.

P&O Ferries is one of the largest ferry and logistics companies in Europe, carrying 8.4 million passengers, 1.6 million cars and 2.2 million freight units per year, with over 20 vessels and 27,000 sailings a year across eight routes between the UK, the Republic of Ireland and northern continental ports.

The Guangzhou Shipyard International, where the ships will be made, is regarded as one of China’s most modern and largest shipbuilding companies and focuses more on the construction of sustainable vessels.

Nedim Husomanovic

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