Port of Antwerp Power Supply Facility

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The world's first Onshore Power Supply (OPS) facility with automatic synchronization and 50/60 Hz conversion has been formally activated by Flemish Minister-President Kris Peeters in the presence of leading government and Port of Antwerp officials. It typically powers a docked container vessel for approximately three days within any one week, allowing its auxiliary diesel generators to be disconnected and so significantly reduce attendant noise and noxious NOx, SOx and CO2 emissions; the EC Directive introducing a 0.1% maximum sulphur requirement for fuels used by ships berthing in EU ports is also met ahead of its mandatory implementation from the beginning of next January.

Developed by Hamburg-based SAM Electronics, an L-3 Communications company, in response to growing worldwide demands for environment-friendly and energy-efficient power supplies within port confines, the OPS basically ensures uninterrupted generation of high voltage (800 kVA) electrical power to berthed vessels in association with a local grid. Network equipment typically comprises a series of power and control modules and cabling, with a frequency converter allowing vessels to connect to shore-side electricity regardless of whether they are dependent upon 50 or 60 Hz electrical systems.  As part of installation work for the $1.56m Antwerp project, SAM has also equipped new Independent Container Lines’ vessels with complementary 60Hz onboard networks supplemented by standard OPS components such as a 6,600-volt/450-volt transformer, a 6,600-volt medium-voltage supply station, and a cable drum.

In this way it has been possible to implement a fully-automated synchronized network directly linking port and ship via the equivalent of an alternative power source which effectively averts pollutant emissions and noise traditionally generated by docked vessels consuming large amounts of fuel oil at considerable cost. The development thus coincidentally provides significant economic, environmental and health benefits in a built-up working area.  SAM’s design of the OPS for Europe’s third largest container port follows continuing development of comparable onboard power connection systems for over 20 shipping organizations operating worldwide in China, Europe, and the US. The Company is currently developing larger OPS systems for port use based on advanced pulse width modulation (PWM) technology.


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