The term "cold ironing" is the process of providing electrical power to a ship alongside while its main and auxiliary engines are shut down.

Principle of "Cold Ironing"

This external supply to the vessel allows emergency equipment, refrigeration, cooling, heating, lighting and other equipment to receive a continuous power supply while the vessel is loading or unloading cargo.

"Shorepower" is a general term used to describe the supply of electrical energy to ships, small craft, aircraft and stationary road vehicles.


If you rely on this picture, you won't find what's "Cold Ironing" !


What reality behind "Cold Ironing" principle

Various environmental studies have established the following breakdown of the different releases to the atmosphere produced by a merchant ship (goods or passengers): 55% of the pollutant emissions of a ship concerns its phase at berth. Read our article on a vessel, A "scrubber", what is it ?

 Diagram on how to plug a vessel to the electricity coming from shore sideSource of this diagram


Technical constraints of realization

The main constraint does not come particularly from the power to be supplied by the terrestrial network to the ship, but more specifically from the particular voltage in service on board ships.

On land, in France, it is common to find 220V or 380V, 110V in UK. But aboard ships, the norm is 440V. It is therefore essential to install near the various docks of callouts scattered in a port brand new electrical transformer stations dedicated to this demand / standard.

The second technical issue to be solved is the installation on board ship of switching equipment from one network to the other so that it is done in security / safely and for men and for on-board equipment.

Last but not least, in some countries, you have to use electrical energy that is not produced from fossil fuels or coal so that there is real environmental efficiency in the facts.


electricity generation by source by G20 (Hydro - Nuclear - Wind, solar, biomass - Thermal (fuel, coal, gas)Source of this figure


Global cacophony on cost pass-through

Like any environmental advance, its effective effectiveness is essential to distinguish itself from the competition. And be accepted by the local populations as a durable solution to erase the nuisances found previously.

But there is still the question of passing on the costs of deploying these new infrastructures ashore. Often financed by the taxpayer, but whose total cost is rarely passed on to the main polluter: the owner of the ship.




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