ABB to power Japan’s first electric tugboat for efficient and sustainable operations

Source: press release, 30 June 2022      

Electric tugboat ‘Taiga’
Electric tugboat ‘Taiga’ (illustration: Tokyo Kisen Co., Ltd)

The electric tugboat Taiga is the result of a collaboration between Tokyo Kisen Co., Ltd. and e5 Lab Inc., a Japanese consortium with the purpose of planning and developing fully electric vessels.

Constructed at the Kanagawa Dockyard Co., Ltd. at Kobe, the tug is due for delivery by end of December 2022, becoming the first vessel of its kind to operate in Japanese waters. It is equipped with ABB’s Onboard DC Grid™, complete with a high battery capacity. Designed to enable zero-emission operations in harborside environments, the tug delivers superior performance while supporting Japan’s ambition of achieving net-zero GHG emissions from international shipping by 2050.

Tokyo Kisen’s harbour tug will be used to manoeuvre other vessels by pushing or towing them with 2.5-megawatt-hour battery systems supplied and integrated by ABB, reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a day-to-day basis, and acting as spinning reserve back-up power to prevent prolonged outages. The tug’s future-proof configuration also enables it to achieve emission-free operations by integrating alternative energy sources as technologies mature.

“ABB is honoured to be involved in such a prominent project to power the first electric tugboat for Japan,” says Munekazu Tanikawa, Local Division Manager, ABB Marine & Ports. “Our hybrid and electric solutions have established a strong reputation in the short-distance shipping segment, now further strengthened by this prestigious opportunity in a highly competitive market.”

In addition to the energy storage solution, ABB supplies the tug with its award-winning power system platform Onboard DC Grid™, which enables simple, flexible, and functional integration of energy sources and loads. Leveraging Onboard DC Grid™, the tug’s engines will be able to run at variable speeds for optimised energy economy at each load level. This helps cut fuel consumption, reducing the environmental impact as a result. The batteries will be able to provide power to the tug’s propulsion system almost instantaneously, where ABB’s Power and Energy Management System (PEMS™) will control the overall power distribution, increase fault tolerance and provide a high degree of reliability.