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Shipboard Microgrids

Microgrids are defined as local electrical networks, including generation, storage and critical loads, able to operate in grid connected more and in islanding operation. In this sense, maritime power systems like those installed in ships, ferries, vessels and other maritime devices, are usually operating in islanded mode when they are in the sea, and in grid-connected mode when they arrive to the seaport. Thus, maritime microgrids constitutes real commercial microgrids cost effective and with a promising market. The more electrical are becoming the ships, the more importance is taking in maritime microgrids.

A Microgrid Shipboard Power System

Many microgrid technologies are being applied in maritime microgrids, such as droop control to properly share and balance the power injected by the generators. At the same time, as well as in other microgrid systems, maritime microgrids are trending to expand more the DC distribution system, which can be seen as a DC microgrid, especially when incorporating more and more energy storage systems. The state of the art right now is the massive use of AC/DC hybrid maritime microgrid systems, which allow integrating AC generators, AC and DC energy storage systems, and AC and DC critical and noncritical loads.

Aalborg University microgrid research programme, as a leader in microgrids, is applying a number of microgrid technologies with cooperation of the most prestigious universities, companies and research centers.


The Maritime Laboratory is located in the building Pontoppidanstræde 109 of the Department of Energy Technology in Aalborg University. The structure is equipped with power grid simulators, flywheels, bidirectional power electronics converters, electronic loads, multiterminal medium voltage connection and real-time control and monitoring platforms running with different industrial communication protocols.

A multi-flywheel-energy-storage system for Maritime applications

A multi-flywheel-energy-storage system for Maritime applications

Special equipment

The Maritime Laboratory is equipped with real-time simulators to study and analysis the large-scale electrical network onboard marine vessels. In addition to that, more powerful power grid simulator and converters are expected to be installed.

Features & services

The Maritime Laboratory will contribute to the improvement of maritime activities focused on following two aspects:

Research goals:

All-electric ships and next-generation ports with shore-side power supply systems have been recognized as the main trend of future maritime and its related industries. Since these activities are in their early stages, a lot of work need to be done in terms of proof of concept, standardization, and demonstration. Meanwhile, the potential impacts of emerging technologies on system performance need to be evaluated and exploited. Additionally, there exist several challenges in planning and operation of facilities aboard/in-port which needs to be addressed suitably. These challenges mainly include but not limited to: engineering challenges in terms of standardized equipment and procedures and their integration into the conventional systems, economic analysis of challenges with regards to different capital investment and operational cost factors (such as energy costs, labor costs, routine maintenance costs, ship retrofits, etc.), and operating challenges in terms of device-level and system-level monitoring, control, protection, and management.

Socio-economic goals:

By integrating microgrid technologies into maritime systems and port areas, it is expected not only to reduce environmental footprint and to increase health benefits sourcing from pollution and noise reduction, but also to increase the competitiveness of related industries in the growing markets. Moreover, advance R&D activities in maritime area will help to expand and improve the electric power infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services in maritime systems and port areas especially in the Nordic region and enhance international cooperation to support clean act policies through investment in energy-efficient infrastructures and clean energy technologies.