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New ABB Azipod D for electric marine propulsion requires 25% less installed power, boosts flexibility

Azipod D. Click to enlarge.

ABB has introduced a new offering, Azipod D, to its line of Azipod marine electric propulsion systems. This new product will allow a wider range of vessel types to benefit from the proven reliability and flexibility that have made Azipod the leading propulsion system across numerous ship types.

Azipod Propulsion is a gearless steerable propulsion system in which the electric drive motor is in a submerged pod outside the ship hull. A ship with Azipod Propulsion does not need rudders, long shaftlines or stern transversal thrusters. This new Azipod D provides designers and ship builders with increased design flexibility in order to accommodate a wide range of hull shapes and propeller sizes, as well as simplicity of installation. The Azipod D requires up to 25% less installed power. This is partly due to the fact that the new hybrid (air and water) cooling helps reduce the thruster’s weight and directs more power toward propulsion of the ship, not cooling requirements. The performance of the electric motor is increased by up to 45%.

ABB’s Azipod D propulsion power ranges from 1.6 megawatts to 7 megawatts (MW) per unit.

According to Clarkson’s Research, the leading shipbroker and research firm, the number of vessels with electric propulsion has been growing at a pace of 12% per year over the last decade, three times faster than the world’s fleet.

ABB’s gearless Azipod propulsion system is already the preferred choice of cruise vessels, icebreakers, ice-going cargo vessels and offshore accommodation ships. With the Azipod D, shipping segments such as offshore drilling, construction and support vessels and ferries will have more choices to benefit from the higher flexibility, reliability and energy efficiency provided by Azipod propulsion technology.

The electric propulsion behind ABB’s Azipod units enables ship owners and operators to enjoy higher profitability of their vessels by lowering maintenance costs and cutting fuel consumption.

Fuel consumption—and thus exhaust emissions—are reduced due to improved hydrodynamic efficiency and the power plant concept.

  • Improved hydrodynamic efficiency is a result of reduced hull resistance when traditional shaftline and related brackets can be eliminated and optimum hull design can be utilized. Also, the Azipod unit propeller is a pulling type propeller which operates in a better wake field and thus induces lower pressure pulses to the hull.

  • The power plant concept provides fuel savings by optimizing the loading of the diesel engines. The power management system connects or disconnects diesel generator sets to the network depending on the vessel power requirement, reducing both inefficient low load operation and running hours of the diesel engines.

Benefits of the Azipod D propulsion system also include superior maneuverability, competitive investment cost, ease of service and maintenance, and a significant performance increase compared to mechanical thrusters.

The characteristics of Azipod propulsion make it particularly appealing to the offshore shipping segments where most vessels operate in dynamic positioning mode and require highest reliability. In conjunction with electric propulsion, Azipod propulsion system meets varying power demand, while delivering high propulsion efficiency and flexibility, all of which are typical requirements of the of the offshore industry.

Since its development by ABB in 1987, the entire installed Azipod unit base has accumulated more than 11 million operating hours, helping ship owners save up to 20% on fuel.

The unit power of Azipod propulsion systems is available up to 22 MW. Today, the total power output of all installed and ordered Azipod units is more than 4,000 MW, which corresponds to the power consumption of Greater London.



Future electrified ships with multiple e-drives and a few on-board large FCs could manoeuver more easily without current pollution.


I think there should be something done about the pollution from maritime shipping.

This is a car blog, so many of us focus our critiques there, but the shipping industry is dirty beyond most of our comprehension.

The fuel they use is basically a garbage diesel oil in most cases, full of elements damaging to humans and the environment, that are normally refined out for cars.

There are no emissions after treatment usually.

Ships run full tilt out at sea, causing more pollution.

I think cars are picked on because everyone know what a car is, there is a recognition that it does pollute, and it should be regulated, whereas ships its more of an out of sight and out of mind scenario. People don't know how a cargo ship looks, nor what it takes to power it. There is nothing in their lives that comes close to the scale. I think that ignorance plays a big roll in deciding policies to curb harmful emissions.

On the CO2 side of things, inefficient homes contribute an extreme amount of CO2 emissions. There are policies for new homes, but not much can be done for existing ones.

I am not saying cars should be ignored but there are easier low hanging fruit out there.


LNG could become the fuel of choice for shipping. Way cleaner.


Something else to remember: Rudolf Diesel designed his first engine to run on lots of different fuels, and at the 1900 World's Fair, he used peanut oil - not diesel fuel, which didn't yet exist. What we call diesel fuel is made from crude oil and it was made to work with diesel engines, not the other way around. We could go back to running them on peanut, or some other vegetable oil, easily enough. A lot of people are running diesels on straight vegetable oil (SVO) right now, today, with no problems.


Yet another thing to remember: There was a time when cargo at sea was moved by sail not dead dinos. We could go back to that;

Use of a SkySails system is claimed to reduce a cargo vessel's fuel consumption by an average of 10 to 35 percent annually, and by up to 50 percent temporarily. Due to its "dynamic flight maneuvers," the kite reportedly generates 5 to 25 times more power per square meter sail area than a conventional sail. A study by the United Nations' International Maritime Organization suggested that up to 100 million tonnes (110.2 million US tons) of carbon dioxide could be saved each year, if the technology was broadly applied to the world's merchant fleet.


Also not to be forgotten: There was a time when freight was shipped by sail and the wind could still be used. They've already used large parafoil kites on some ships to reduce fuel consumption by 10-35%.

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