Italian ferry operator Gestione Navigazione Laghi has selected ABB to convert its 1965-built ferry San Cristoforo for hybrid operation by fitting it with an electric power and propulsion system.
The conversion will take place at the Canteri Navali Chioggia shipyard, just south of Venice, It will see the ferry, which operates on Lake Maggiore, fitted with a complete power and propulsion system that will enable it to operate in hybrid and zero-emission modes.
The turnkey modernization utilizes ABB’s solutions including batteries and energy storage control system.
The ferry carries up to 450 passengers and 27 vehicles. Following the conversion, San Cristoforo passengers will benefit from a quieter, smoother ride along the lake with less onboard vibration, noise and exhaust fumes.
“This modernization 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.
San Cristoforo has been originally powered by a pair of conventional 310 kW diesel main engines driving twin shaft line 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 modernization project marks a debut order for Onboard Microgrid, the compact DC grid platform recently launched by ABB to help smaller vessels optimize their fuel efficiency by making the best use of available power (see earlier story).
Onboard Microgrid will allow the vessel to optimize 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.
“The San Cristoforo conversion is a milestone project for ABB as it underpins our capability to modernize 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.