Italian ferry retrofitted with ABB batteries

Italian ferry retrofitted with ABB batteries
The San Cristoforo ferry

A 1965-built San Cristoforo ferry owned and operated by Gestione Navigazione Laghi will be fitted with an ABB electric power and propulsion system to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency.

ABB’s batteries and energy storage control system will be retrofitted to the 386-tonne passenger and car sailing ferry sailing in Lake Maggiore in Italy, which has capacity for 450 passengers and 27 vehicles. According to ABB, as well as reduced fuel consumption and emissions, passengers will benefit from quieter, smoother sailing, with less onboard vibration, noise and exhaust fumes.

San Cristoforo was originally powered by a pair of conventional 310 kW diesel main engines driving twin shaft lines propellers. The retrofit project will bring additional operational efficiencies by reducing the shaftline components and basing the new propulsion solution on a direct shaft line at both ends of the vessel. Following the conversion, the controllable pitch propellers will be replaced with a simpler, more efficient fixed pitch propellers that will help improve the overall fuel economy of the ferry.

ABB’s scope of supply will include new propulsion motors, diesel-generator sets, transformers and switchboards. Additionally, the modernisation project marks a debut order for Onboard Microgrid, a compact DC grid platform recently launched by ABB to help smaller vessels optimise their fuel efficiency by making the best use of available power.

Onboard Microgrid will allow the vessel to optimise energy efficiency by pooling hotel and propulsion power sources via a DC-link, so that generator sets or batteries can be called on based on user needs, in either diesel, hybrid or electric modes.

“This modernisation will allow San Cristoforo to operate in the most environmentally-responsible way, and we are delighted to work with ABB on this project, given the group’s extensive experience in developing, project managing and supporting shipboard hybrid systems,” said Alessandro Acquafredda, general director, Gestione Navigazione Laghi.

“The San Cristoforo conversion is a milestone project for ABB as it underpins our capability to modernise ships of any age, size and type so that they can take advantage of the efficiency benefits of hybrid operation,” said Jyri Jusslin, head of global service, ABB Marine & Ports.