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ABB unveils new Azipod propulsion model with higher efficiency

ABB unveils new Azipod propulsion model with higher efficiency
ABB Marine has launched a new linear flow Azipod propulsion unit that is 5-10% more efficient than previous versions, potentially allowing the shipping industry to save on millions of tonnes of fuel.

The new linear flow Azipod XL achieves the jump in efficiency by with the incorporation of a nozzle with stator plates, which directs water flow from the propeller to reduce the turbulence and energy loss in order to give the optimum thrust for the vessel.

Jukka Varis, vice president of technology & business development for marine, told Seatrade Maritime News: “We are constantly developing new products and it has taken quite a while to develop something like this. The new product is designed for longer drydocking interval – seven to eight years interval compared to the typical five years.”

Azipod propulsion is the shipping industry’s leading podded electric propulsion system and ABB believes the improved efficiency and bollard pull will expand its appeal beyond established strong markets.

“The additional benefits include better maneuverability but at the same time better energy savings as well, and bollard pull thrust force higher than previous models,” Varis said.

If the newest model were to replace all existing Azipod units, it would save the shipping industry 2.2m tonnes of fuel use, and reduce 7m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, over the next 25 years.

It is a quarter of a century since the first installation of an Azipod unit, and in that time they have racked up more than 12m running hours, saving 700,000 tonnes of fuel in the process.

Palemia Field, intergrated operations program manager – passenger & cago, ABB Marine and Ports, said: “The overall reduction in vessel fuel use and the lower environmental footprint are positive effects beyond just looking at the financial aspects.”

Azipod propulsion is already widely used in the cruise industry and on many complex specialised offshore vessels. The improved fuel efficiency and bollard pull of the Azipod XL will increase its competitiveness into new sectors such as tugs, ferries and LNG tankers.

ABB’s focus on ship connectivity will also benefit the new model. Smart sensors installed in the units send data to ABB’s Integrated Operations Centers, allowing ABB and the customer to gain insight into important aspects of the Azipod unit that are vital for maintenance.