ABB’s technology contributes to Malta’s efforts towards a lower carbon footprint

Oct 11, 2016 - A shore-to-ship power solution from ABB will supply a floating gas storage facility feeding a new power plant under construction in Malta and will help to reduce the environmental impact of power generation on this small Mediterranean island.

Example of an LNG vessel

Lying out in the Mediterranean is the island country of Malta, its terraced fields and rocky cliffs descending into clear, azure waters. And it is a solution floating on this water that will support the push towards a cleaner energy supply for one of the world's smallest and most densely populated countries.

Malta’s electricity generation to date has almost completely been accounted for by crude oil and petroleum-fired power plants, with renewable energy contributing only 1.1% of inland energy consumption and cogeneration 0.4%. The Government of Malta has now introduced the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP), which aims to increase electricity generation efficiency and reduce overall power loss, thereby leading to a lower carbon footprint.

As part of this initiative, a new 215-megawatt gas-fired combined-cycle power plant is being constructed in Delimara on the southeast coast, which will utilize less expensive natural gas, reducing the dependence on heavy fuel oil for power production. This power plant will be fed by a ship-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility, which in turn will receive its energy from an onshore electrification system. Avoiding the use of the ship’s diesel generators to produce this energy will entail a significant reduction in costs and environmental impact.

Customer and environmental benefits

ABB has developed this dock electrification system – which will convert the frequency from 50 Hz (Malta’s grid frequency) to 60 Hz (the ship’s frequency) – following an order by Greek contractor J&P Avax, which is building the LNG facility on behalf of ElectroGas Malta. Reduced emissions and lower noise are the ultimate goal of ABB’s shore-to-ship power solutions, which create a better environment for crew, dockworkers and local residents. For ship owners, operators and harbor authorities, a one-stop ABB solution provides enhanced safety and availability through comprehensive experience, knowledge and service support.

All the equipment and the ABB supply systems will be installed in four containers. The first will house ABB’s state-of-the art frequency conversion equipment and is equipped with special air filtering systems suitable for installation in the vicinity of the sea and divided into two separate compartments, to ensure continued functionality of the plant during maintenance. The second container will house medium-voltage switchgear as well as control and protection systems. Two additional containers are provided for dry-type power transformers, in order to achieve the required protection rating.

The recent construction of a similar system in Malaysia for dock electrification in connection with LNG confirms the global leadership role ABB is taking for shore-to-ship power and smart ports solutions.

“This is the first installation of its kind in Malta, and we hope it will pave the way for more opportunities related to energy efficiency in ports. Conversion to natural gas will reduce costs and the environmental impact of power generation in Malta,” said Oleg Aleinikov, Managing Director of ABB’s Grid Integration business unit, a part of the company’s Power Grids division. “A key element of our solution is that we offered a standard but flexible system that is expandable as needed by the customer. In this way, our shore-to-ship power technology offers both benefits to our customer and the environment, which are two key focus areas of our Next Level strategy.”