ABB fills gap in Azipod range

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche
ShipInsight

06 June 2019


Marine engineering specialist ABB has extended its range of Azipod propulsion systems with new models to fill the power gap aimed at enabling ferry and ro-pax operators improve operational efficiency and reduce emissions

Since its launch in 1990, Azipod electric propulsion has become the industry standard for a wide range of vessel segments ranging from smaller crafts to icebreakers capable of independently operating in the harshest conditions.

In response to customer requests, ABB has filled the gap between the low and high-power range of Azipod propulsors with the launch of a new series available in 7.5-14.5MW. In addition to ferry and ro-pax vessels, this power range will also be applicable for larger offshore construction vessels, midsize cruise ships and shuttle tankers. With this expansion, the Azipod propulsion family now covers the power range of 1-22MW.

Recent breakthrough orders in the ferry segment include the Azipod propulsion system specified for an LNG-powered vessel due for delivery to Viking Line next year. Azipod propulsion was also preferred by Wasaline for the recently ordered dual-fuel and battery power ferry, which will operate between Sweden and Finland.

“Building a future-proof, robust ro-pax ferry requires proven technology that enables energy efficiency, saves valuable onboard space and provides increased passenger comfort. These features, coupled with superior manoeuvrability that would allow the ferry to operate a precise schedule crucial for a busy route, have made ABB’s Azipod propulsion a natural choice for our newbuild project,” – said Peter Ståhlberg, CEO at Wasaline.

At the core of the new mid-power range are ABB’s latest fourth generation permanent magnet motors, which draw on proven Azipod propulsion technologies but have been refined to increase power and maximise efficiency. Additionally, the latest ‘M’ series feature technical advantages tailored to provide operating benefits for ferry and ro-pax owners and operators.

The mid-power range propulsion units have been designed for low onboard height, which allows placing the system under the car deck of ro-pax vessels, ensuring smooth loading and unloading of vehicles, as well as allowing for maximising the deck space. The design simplicity of the propulsion system provides increased robustness and reliability, at the same time allowing for ease of maintenance.

An independent study by Deltamarin, a ship design, offshore engineering and construction group, where a ro-pax vessel equipped with the Azipod system was compared to a conventional vessel with shaftline propulsion, has shown average savings in fuel and energy consumption equivalent to $1.7 million annually. Lower fuel consumption also means that the Azipod-powered ferry would reduce CO2 emissions – by approximately 10,000 tons per year.

The study included advanced simulations of a ferry equipped with twin 10 MW Azipod units travelling on seven existing ferry routes. In addition to the independent study, ABB has also measured how the Azipod propulsion system delivers more resilience to weather and allows for approaching port at higher speeds and with higher precision to enhance schedule-keeping.