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ABB makes breakthrough in ship propulsion systems

The Zurich power and automation group ABB has introduced the world’s most efficient electric propulsion system for marine vessels. It increases fuel efficiency by up to an additional 10 per cent.
ABB introduces the world’s most efficient electric propulsion system for marine vessels.
ABB introduces the world’s most efficient electric propulsion system for marine vessels.

The new electric propulsion system Azipod XL increases marine vessel fuel efficiency by an unprecedented level of up to 20 per cent compared to modern shaft line propulsion systems, writes ABB in a statement. The efficiency gain was accomplished by a unique nozzle system that accelerates the water flow into the propeller to increase thrust. The thruster for reduced water resistance was also redesigned.

ABB’s Azipod propulsion systems have become an industry standard for the marine industry since they were launched 25 years ago. According to ABB, they have saved over 700,000 tonnes of fuel and helped reduce the maritime carbon dioxide footprint. And if all existing Azipod units were replaced with the new model, the shipping industry would save an additional 2.2 million tonnes of fuel and 7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next 25 years, said Peter Terwiesch, president of ABB’s Process Automation division.

Another advantage of the Azipod XL is that it can be designed to give high bollard pull thrust at lower speeds but still have good characteristics at higher speeds, making it suitable for vessels such as tugs or ferries. And as the new systems utilises the potential of the Internet of Things, it has the capability for continuous condition monitoring.

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