Shore power solutions

Use a shore power solution to plug in to the onshore electricity grid. This saves fuel and cuts harmful emissions.

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Shore power solutions help save fuel

Shore power solutions from Wärtsilä help vessels save fuel and decrease their emissions because they can plug in to the onshore electricity grid when in port. Without shore power, the vessels would have to use auxiliary engines to generate power. 

Shore power systems are becoming standard in newbuild vessels, and they are a popular retrofit option for existing vessels as well.

What is shore power?

Shore power refers to the possibility for a ship to plug in to an onshore electricity grid when in port. With shore power, the vessel does not have to use its auxiliary engines to generate power. This decreases emissions and noise.

Shore power can also be used to charge the energy storage system on board the ship.
Other terms for shore power include: 

  • Alternative Marine Power (AMP)
  • Onshore Power Supply (OPS)
  • cold ironing
  • shore connection
  • shore power connection. 

All these terms are typically used for IEC-80005 standardized plug solutions (IEEE SA - IEEE/IEC 80005-1-2019 most used in the High Voltage version), which ensure that the vessel will be able to get shore power in any commercial port.

How does shore power work?

3D illustration of the components of a shore power system

The power grid (for example 8kV, 50Hz) feeds the power conversion system, such as an e-house or container in the port.

In this e-house or container the electrical power is converted to the IEC standard, which is 60hz and for most vessels 6.6kV or Direct Current for a battery charging application. The power conversion system includes a converter, transformer, cooling and fire fighting system.

Then the cable handling system allows the heavy cables to be lifted up to the ship. On the ship an incoming panel is placed in a confined room, where the operator connects the ship to shore power.

The power is often via a transformer (if ship grid is low voltage) connected to the main switchboard. The Wärtsilä shore power control system and built in safety features ensures safe and seamless operation.

Shore power as Alternative Marine Power

When a vessel uses Alternative Marine Power (AMP) while in port, it can turn off the genset and take power from shore. This reduces the vessel’s emissions and fuel consumption.

Container vessels and passenger vessels often use an AMP solution. Current legislation determines that both vessel type have to use shore power in EU ports from 2030 onwards. Other users include RoRo vessels, LNG carriers, tankers, ferries, and mega yachts.

Shore power for charging

The term charging (or ferry charging) is used for a variety of alternative and non-regulated or tailored solutions that provide shore power to battery powered or hybrid ships for the purpose of charging their battery.

A chargeable, on-board energy storage system allows a vessel to operate without running its engines. Using a zero-carbon on-shore power grid for charging means that the vessel can achieve zero-carbon operations when it is battery-powered.

The main advantage of charging solutions is a shorter connection time. This is important for ferries that only have a few minutes of time for charging their battery when they load and unload on each turnaround.

All vessel charging systems have the same set up onshore like Alternative Marine Power, which includes more than just the cable handling system – the visible part that connects power to the ship.

Why shore power?

A shore power connection will save fuel and cut your vessel emissions – and there are five more exciting reasons why it’s time to invest in ship to shore power!

Learn the basics about shore power and discover why it is such a green choice – in less than two minutes!

Customer cases

To date, Wärtsilä has delivered more than 150 shore power solutions to ships. In fact, Wärtsilä’s solution was the reference for the Long Beach port – the first one that made shore power mandatory.

The world’s largest zero-emissions lightweight catamaran ferry, ordered by Buquebus and built by Incat Tasmania will have the world’s largest DC shore charging system. 

Hand-picked press releases

Another world’s first for Wärtsilä - wireless charging for hybrid coastal ferry successfully tested

Sep 20, 2017, 13:01 by Wärtsilä Corporation

The technology group Wärtsilä has successfully tested its automatic wireless induction charging system on a hybrid powered coastal ferry. This is the first commercial ferry in the world operating with high power wireless charging capability for its batteries, and the successful project represents a notable breakthrough in the evolution of plug-in electrically operated vessels. The tests were carried out on the 85 metre long ‘MF Folgefonn’ in Norwegian waters during the end of August / early September of this year. The ferry is owned by Norled, one of Norway’s largest ferry operators.

Wireless charging eliminates the cable connection between the vessel and shore, thereby securing and facilitating safe connections and disconnections. It also reduces maintenance since wear and tear to physical connection lines is eliminated. The integrated Wärtsilä system is based on inductive power transfer and is capable of transferring more than a MW of electrical energy.

The Wärtsilä system is designed to maintain efficient power transfer at distances of 50 centimetres between the two charging plates built into the side of the vessel and the quay. No other wireless charging system is as powerful, or capable of maintaining the transfer of energy at such a distance.

“During recent years, wireless charging has been introduced for cars, busses and trains. We have now made this possible for marine vessels. The main benefits for customers are up to 20 percent more utilisation of the available charging time, increased operational safety, and greater system reliability. There is an ongoing trend to equip coastal ferries with battery powered and hybrid propulsion since they are particularly affected by environmental regulatory demands. Wireless charging will, therefore, create considerable value for operators of hybrid ferries,” says Ingve Sørfonn, Senior Technical Officer E&A, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions.

“For Wärtsilä, this wireless charging revolution focuses on coastal ferries, a segment of the transportation industry that is well-suited to the technology because of short stop-and-go schedules. The wireless charger is an innovative and value adding new part of our hybrid solutions offering, which we shall continue to develop further in line with the needs of our customers,” says Cato Esperø, Sales Director, Wärtsilä Norway.

The project has been partly funded by Innovation Norway, a Norwegian funding institution.

Link to image
Caption: Wärtsilä’s wireless charging system is the first in the world to operate successfully with a coastal ferry.

Media contacts:

Mr Ingve Sørfonn
Senior Technical Officer, Electrical & Automation
Wärtsilä Marine Solutions
Tel: +47 9573 2581

Ms Marit Holmlund-Sund
Senior Manager Marketing, Communications, Marine Solutions
Wärtsilä Corporation
Tel: +358 10 709 1439

Wärtsilä in brief:
Wärtsilä is a global leader in advanced technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation and total efficiency, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2016, Wärtsilä's net sales totalled EUR 4.8 billion with approximately 18,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.


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A shore power connection can reduce emissions

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