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ABB’s Onboard DC Grid wins OTC Spotlight on New Technology Award

ABB, the power and automation technology group, has announced that its Onboard DC Grid will receive a Spotlight on New Technology Award at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) held in Houston from 6-9 May 2013

The awards honoured innovative technologies for the oil and gas industry and related energy sectors with the potential to significantly impact offshore exploration and production.

Designed for a wide range of vessels, ABB’s Onboard DC Grid is a highly efficient power distribution, automation and electric propulsion system that significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 20 per cent and space needed onboard for electric equipment by up to 30 per cent.

Technologies considered for the Spotlight on New Technology must meet five general criteria—they must be new (less than two years old), innovative (original, groundbreaking and capable of revolutionising the offshore exploration and production industry), proven, of broad interest and appeal to the industry, and have significant impact (offer efficiency and environmental benefits beyond existing technologies). A committee made up of representatives from the OTC Board and programme committee judged the entries and chose the winners.

“We are honoured to be recognised by OTC with this important award,” said Jon Olson, region division manager, process automation, North America for ABB. “This underscores our commitment to providing leading-edge solutions to help our energy industry customers improve their overall efficiency while meeting environmental requirements.”

Different from traditional electrical propulsion systems, ABB's Onboard DC Grid connects all DC links and distributes the power through one main DC circuit, providing significant power savings and optimising the ship’s propulsion. As the ship's engines no longer have to run at a fixed speed, the engine’s speed can be adjusted to optimise fuel consumption.

In addition, ABB’s Onboard DC Grid reduces the footprint and weight of the electrical equipment used by up to 30 percent, by eliminating the need for bulky transformers and main switchboards. That leaves more space on the vessels for cargo, larger fuel tanks, or increased workspace areas, and provides greater flexibility in the positioning of system components in the vessel. It also enables connection of supplementary DC energy sources such as solar panels, fuel cells, or batteries, directly into the ship's DC electrical system, for further fuel savings.

ABB’s Onboard DC Grid applies to a wide range of ships with low-voltage onboard power systems such as offshore support vessels, tug boats, ferries and yachts. The first vessel to be equipped with a full Onboard DC Grid system is a Platform Support Vessel (PSV) under construction now at Norwegian shipyard Kleven for the owner Myklebusthaug Offshore.

The Offshore Technology Conference is the world’s foremost event for the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection. OTC is held annually at Reliant Center in Houston.

At OTC, ABB highlighted its full line of solutions above and below the water for the global oil and gas industry. These solutions included integrated automation and electrification systems, telecommunications, instrumentation and life cycle services to the complete energy value chain. ABB Group company Baldor Electric had a range of its industrial electric motors, mechanical power transmission products, drives and generators, while fellow ABB firm Thomas & Betts showcased its range of electrical components and solutions for the oil and gas industry.