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ABB Ltd. (ABB - Snapshot Report) recently announced that its Onboard Direct current (DC) Grid will receive the Spotlight on New Technology Award at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC). This conference is scheduled from May 6 to May 9, 2013 and the awards given at the OTC are primarily to honor innovative technologies in the oil and gas industry. In addition, the OTC also recognizes innovative technologies in the energy sectors that have the potential to impact the offshore exploration and production.

The Offshore Technology Conference is the world’s primary event for the development of offshore resources in the areas of drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection. OTC is held at Reliant Center in Houston, every year. The Spotlight on New Technology Award is renowned all over the world for excellence in innovating new technologies for further development of the Oil, Gas and related energy sectors

Typically, for a technology to qualify for the Spotlight on New Technology award must have five general criteria such as, they must be latest and not more than two years old, the technology should be innovative, which will ideally be for the modernization and upgrade of the offshore and production industry. In addition, the technology should have a proven record and have efficiency and environmental benefits beyond the existing technologies.

ABB’s Onboard DC is specially designed for a wide range of vessels and ships with highly efficient power distribution, automation and electric propulsion system, which not only reduces fuel consumption and emissions by approximately 20% but also generates the space needed onboard for electric equipment by 30%. The first vessel to install the Onboard DC Grid system is a Platform Support Vessel (PSV) being constructed at the Norwegian shipyard Kleven for, Myklebusthaug Offshore.

The Onboard DC Grid (unlike the traditional electrical propulsion systems), connects all DC links and distributes power through one main DC circuit, which helps in generating major power savings, thereby allowing maximum propulsion for the ships or vessels.

With the Onboard DC Grid, ship's engines no longer operate at a fixed speed and the engine’s speed can be adjusted to economize fuel consumption. Additionally, ABB’s Onboard DC Grid also reduces weight of the electrical equipment used as it eliminates the need for massive transformers and main switchboards. Therefore, it leaves more space on the vessels for cargo, larger fuel tanks, enabling greater flexibility in the positioning of system components in the vessel. Further the Onboard DC also allows connection of ancillary DC energy sources such as solar panels, fuel cells, or batteries, directly into the ship's DC electrical system, which leads to extra savings on fuel.

Based in Zurich, Switzerland, ABB Ltd. is a power and automation technology company and currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other players in the same industry, which can be considered buying at the moment are Franklin Electric (FELE - Snapshot Report) and Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI - Analyst Report), which have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Another peer, Orion Marine Group, Inc. (ORN - Snapshot Report) is good pick, having a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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