Cavotec presses for cold ironing in California

Cold ironing: power the ships from the shore, or a barge Cold ironing: power the ships from the shore, or a barge
Industry Database

Supplying shore-side electricity to ships at berth - or " cold ironing" - is cost effective for certain types of vessels that call regularly in Long Beach, that use a lot of power, and that spend a lot of time in port, according to a study commissioned by the port.

Substituting shore-side electricity for the ship's diesel power would significantly reduce air emissions from berthed vessels, which are among the region's major air polluters.

Berthed vessels typically shut off their main engines but use auxiliary diesel generators to power refrigeration, lights, pumps, etc.

The Cold Ironing Cost Effectiveness Study conducted by Environ found that 1,143 vessels made 2,913 calls at the port in a one-year period from 20022003. The consultants concluded that shore-side electrification would be cost effective for five of 12 vessels studied. The vessels comprised a cruise ship, a reefer vessel, a containerreefer ship, a pure container vessel and a tanker. "Cold ironing those five vessels would eliminate about 90% of the emissions generated by the 12 study vessels, " says the report. The Long Beach Board of Harbour Commissioners has asked port staff to draft a plan that outlines the next steps.

Cavotec is one company that has taken the initiative with its alternative maritime power supply. Speaking to PS at the recent ro-ro expo in Gothenburg, Cavotec's md, Sofus Gedde-Dahl, explained that 10 ships in a port such as Genoa can cause the same amount of air pollution as the city's entire car population of 44,000. Ships calling at Los Angeles port alone produce 31.4 tons of nitrous oxide daily which contrasts with the 0.5 tons produced daily by 500,000 cars.

Apparently other US West Coast state governors are now following the Long Beach and Los Angeles examples and Cavotec believes other countries will soon follow the Californian lead. The company already has over 17 years experience in the field of providing shore to ship power.

The main technical challenge they say is that 95% of the merchant fleet uses low voltage 220-680 volt power with the remaining 5% using 6,600 volts. Power demand is variable from 0.3 MW for a small tanker to 8 MW for a large container vessel but shore power supply is 6,600 volts.

In March last year Los Angeles port decided to invest in the first installation for the supply of electricity via Cavotec connectors to a container ship.

The shore-based power supply is connected to the ship by means of either a mobile cable management with caddie, a fixed cable management with reel or a barge cable management with reels.

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