Danfoss provides power for removeable icebreaking bow

Danfoss provides power for removeable icebreaking bow

Paul Gunton

Paul Gunton · 30 April 2019


An innovative removeable icebreaking bow that can turn any ice strengthened vessel into an icebreaker will be powered and propelled by equipment to be supplied by Danfoss Editron.

The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency is launching a new icebreaker concept equipped with an innovative motorised removable bow, powered by Danfoss Editron. The concept was developed by Finland-based ILS Ship Design and Engineering ILS as a partner in the EU CEF funded Winter Navigation Motorways of the Sea II (WINMOS II) Action, which aims to ensure safe and reliable winter traffic in a cost efficient way by developing the winter navigation system and ensuring sufficient icebreaking capacity. One of its key targets is the motorised ice-breaking removable bow concept, which will enable ice-strengthened vessels to be used as icebreakers during the winter.


Last year it was announced that the first of the bow systems would be fitted to a tug that will be moored in Mustola harbour in Lappeenranta, Finland and will operate in the Lake Saimaa area from winter 2020. The removable bow is to be delivered by Turku Repair Yard.

Danfoss Editron’s hybrid electric system is powering the removable bow with two generators, built as a DC system, and two propulsion systems. In addition, the company has provided a front super-capacitor so that peak powers can be efficiently controlled. The EDITRON software also cuts fuel and delivers high efficiencies as the diesel-generators in the DC system can be driven at variable speeds. The power plan and propulsion system of the removable bow has been designed to be operated from the pusher tug wheelhouse, and the machinery can operate unmanned.

Jukka Väisänen, Project Operator at Väylä, said, “Lake Saimaa’s ice is more solid than sea ice and can reach up to 80cm thick. Developing this innovative design concept for the removable bow and equipping it with its own propulsion system means that we will achieve savings in capital costs, as we will charter the pusher for only part of the year. We are also expecting to see savings in fuel consumption thanks to the hybrid propulsion system.”

Kari Savolainen, Project Manager at Danfoss Editron, added, “Our headquarters are in Lappeenranta, so we can see first-hand how harsh winter conditions directly impact shipping transport. This new kind of removable bow will make the whole industry more efficient and sustainable, as it enables virtually any kind of tug to become an ice-breaker ship. Our EDITRON system is easily adaptable for future optimisations and can be converted to a fully-electric system if needed.”

With winter temperatures than can plummet to -30°C, icebreakers are a necessity in Finland even during mild winters. Introducing hybrid electric power in ice-breaking operations will also help the country meet its target to lower emissions by 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

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