Swiss-Swedish electrical engineering and charging specialist ABB is set to deliver what it claims are the world's first maritime megawatt charging systems (MCS) to Auckland Transport in New Zealand. The charging systems are designed to recharge electric ferries in and around the port of Auckland, aiming to enhance the competitiveness of electric vessels against their fossil-fueled counterparts.
As part of Auckland Transport's broader electrification initiative, ABB will install five megawatt charging systems for maritime vessels. ABB's MCS charging system for ferries is anticipated to facilitate the adoption of electric maritime applications by employing a standardized and highly adaptable system, similar to those used by trucks and airplanes.
Initially, the MCS systems will power two all-electric ferries with a 200-seat capacity and two hybrid-electric ferries accommodating 300 passengers. The first two electric ferries are expected to commence operations in 2024, followed by two more in 2025-2026. ABB will collaborate with local partners to engineer and install five complete charging solutions at ferry terminals in 2024 and 2025 to accommodate the new electric ferries. Each terminal's charging system will include two 1.65MW chargers, a transformer, ACS880 converters, MCS plugs, and cable management on the ferry pontoons.
With high power demands and short turnarounds, the ferries' crews can manage the chargers during these periods. The charging systems can provide three megawatts of direct current (DC). Auckland Transport plans to acquire additional electric ferries in the near future, aiming to transition the city's ferries from private to public ownership and have the largest electric ferry fleet in the Southern Hemisphere by 2030.
According to Palemia Field, Ferry Segment Manager at ABB Marine & Ports, electrification is essential to moving away from emissions-generating technologies, emphasizing the environmental impact of ferries connecting communities. ABB Marine & Ports has previously supplied electric power systems to Lisabon shipbuilders in 2021 and received an order from South Korean shipyard Haemin Heavy Industries. The company is also involved in the Flagships project, contributing to the world's first hydrogen-powered commercial cargo ship set to enter service on the Seine in Paris.
Murray Burt, Chief Engineer at Auckland Transport, highlighted the importance of ABB's global support capabilities and long-standing local presence for a project set to transform Auckland's ferry services.