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Wednesday, June 9, 2021 

ABB is to equip a new Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) ocean research vessel with a range of solutions to provide sustainable yet maximum performance over a long lifetime.

Located in Moss Landing, California, MBARI seeks to advance marine science and technology to understand a changing ocean. Earlier this year, MBARI announced construction of a new research vessel named in honour of its founder, David Packard. Upon delivery in 2023, the 50m long vessel with 18 scientists and a crew of 12 on board will support MBARI’s work to study the depths of Monterey Bay and beyond. The vessel will enable further exploration of the Monterey Canyon off the US west coast, which is over 4000m deep and extends more than 470km offshore.

“The R/V David Packard will expand MBARI’s reach and enhance our research capabilities at a time when MBARI’s work to explore and understand the ocean is more important than ever,” said MBARI Director of Marine Operations Michael Kelly. “We are excited to pilot ABB’s power integration technology to support operations on our new research vessel.”

The ship’s design has been developed by the Seattle-based research vessel specialist Glosten, with construction to take place at Spain’s Freire Shipyard, known for its experience in complex shipbuilding projects for research vessels, yachts and offshore vessels.

“We are proud to support this ground-breaking vessel with our solutions that will deliver superior performance through the power of integration” said Rune Braastad, Head of Marine Systems, ABB Marine & Ports. “As a single source integrator, ABB has access to efficiencies that are not available for separately purchased solutions, and we look forward to supporting Freire Shipyard through the build project and the owner throughout the vessel’s lifetime.”

The David Packard  will feature a scope of ABB’s electric, digital and connected solutions, and will be the first research vessel to feature ABB’s Onboard DC Grid power system platform. Onboard DC Grid is well suited for research vessels as its quiet operation on board ensures minimal interference with scientific instruments, as well as enabling lower levels of underwater noise radiated below the ship’s hull. The system will help the vessel achieve increased fault tolerance, and with fewer components than a conventional AC solution, it will allow for a flexible placement of electrical equipment on board. In addition to space savings, the Onboard DC Grid setup will save over 2,000 kg, weighing about 30% less than a comparable AC system. While optimising vessel efficiency and responsiveness, Onboard DC Grid will enable MBARI to switch to zero-emission energy sources in the future.

The distributed control system ABB Ability System 800xA will integrate ABB’s digital, power, propulsion, low voltage distribution and vessel management systems into one single-view platform, enabling crew and onshore teams to get a comprehensive overview of all the information needed to operate the vessel in the safest and most efficient manner. The overall power setup will be controlled by ABB's Power and Energy Management System (PEMS), which will also increase fault tolerance and provide a high degree of reliability.

The David Packard will be connected to ABB Ability Collaborative Operations Centre infrastructure, which monitors the performance of ABB technology on board and remotely connects operators with ABB experts.

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