22 Jul 2024


Marine propulsion system is ‘world’s most efficient’

ABB has announced a new version of its Azipod electric propulsion system for ships, which, it claims, will further increase vessel fuel efficiencies by up to 20% compared to modern shaft line propulsion systems – or 5–10% more than the previous generation. The efficiency gain of the new Azipod XL version is achieved using a “unique” nozzle system that accelerates the water flow into the propeller to increase thrust, and by redesigning the thruster for reduced water resistance.

Since the first Azipod propulsion system was installed 25 years ago, the systems have accumulated more than 12 million running hours with an availability of 99.8%, saving more than 700,000 tonnes of fuel, and helping to reduce the maritime carbon dioxide footprint.

The Azipod is a steerable, gearless propulsion system with an electric drive motor located in a submerged pod on the outside of a ship’s hull. It can rotate through 360 degrees, steering and driving a vessel at the same time.

“We continuously strive to advance our technology to the benefit of our customers and the environment, as part of our Next Level strategy,” says Peter Terwiesch, president of ABB’s Process Automation division. “Azipod XL is a perfect example of this approach as it represents the biggest jump in the system’s fuel efficiency in recent years.”

“To put it in perspective,” he adds, “replacing all existing Azipod units with the new model would save the shipping industry an additional 2.2 million tonnes of fuel and 7 million tons of carbon dioxide over the next 25 years.”

The Azipod XL is designed to give a high bollard pull thrust at lower speeds and still have good characteristics at higher speeds. It is thus suitable for vessels such as tugs and offshore construction vessels, as well as ferries and LNG tankers.

The system can provide advanced condition monitoring using ABB’s Internet of Things, Services and People (IoTSP). The company’s Integrated Operations Centres for Marine can monitor equipment and performance parameters of more than 600 vessels continuously.