Power and automation technology group ABB has won orders worth $30 million for electric propulsion, power generation and power distribution systems that maximize the fuel efficiency of offshore supply vessels to be built in China.

ABB said that it will provide an integrated electric propulsion service for each of the vessels. The equipment, including generators, switchgear, transformers, drives and motors, will be delivered to the Fujian Mawei Shipyard in 2010 and 2011. Offshore supply vessels deliver supplies, ranging from drill pipe to drinking water, to drilling rigs and platforms at sea.

Electric propulsion systems equipped with variable speed drives reportedly consume less energy compared with their conventional diesel-mechanical counterparts, and their exhaust emissions are lower. They also allow more flexible use of space on board, according to ABB.

The variable speed drives allow the speed of the ship’s propeller and associated machinery to be controlled precisely. This means that the equipment is subject to less stress, and maintenance costs are lower.

Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s process automation division, said: ABB provides technology and services to the marine industry, helping customers to optimize the performance of their vessels and reduce their environmental impact. Our energy-efficient services are complemented by low-risk project execution and an extensive service network.