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ABB in-line shaft generator systems to support ten COSCO Shipping container vessels; fuel savings up to 17%

ABB has secured its first order from COSCO Shipping, China’s largest shipping company, for in-line permanent magnet shaft generator systems. Compared with traditional diesel generator sets (single unit), the permanent magnet shaft generator system will yield fuel savings of up to 17%.


Permanent magnet shaft generators are small, light, and easy to install. Source: ABB

The deal reaffims the growing appeal of the systems as a market-ready route to greater ship efficiency. Due for delivery by the end of 2025, the order comprises systems for six 14000 TEU vessels (New Panamax) and four 16,000 TEU vessels (Ulta Large Container Vessels, ULCVs).

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is introducing new regulatory standards—the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) and Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII)—which will come into force in January 2023. ABB’s permanent magnet shaft generator system will help the COSCO vessels achieve required efficiency levels as well as CII ratings which verify reduced GHG emissions.

COSCO Shipping’s selection of ABB permanent magnet shaft generator systems is the latest in a series of significant endorsements for the technology. The contract follows a run of orders from roll-on, roll-off, bulk carrier and container ship owners specifying the high efficiency system, whose permanent magnet technology takes the benefits provided by shaft generators over conventional shaft lines to a new level.

Shaft generators with permanent magnet technology offer 3-4% higher efficiency, reduced maintenance costs and an upto 20% smaller footprint compared to traditional, synchronous excitation-based shaft generator systems.

In combination with ABB’s advanced ACS 880 drive, which ensures maximum functionality and flexibility in hybridization applications, the technology can increase fuel efficiency by one additional percent. Moreover, compared with auxiliary diesel generator sets, permanent magnet shaft generators deliver up to 17% greater fuel efficiency during voyages.


ABB introduced its latest in-line shaft generator in March 2022. The AMZ 1400 permanent magnet shaft generator is optimized for converter control and enables better efficiency than either induction or electrically excited synchronous machines at both full and partial loading.

Its compact size shrinks the footprint of the equipment package by around 20 percent compared to a conventional synchronous or induction type shaft generator. At the same time, the weight is reduced by around 30%. The unit is also simpler to install at the shipyard, as the intermediate propulsion shaft is mounted to the generator and then lifted into the vessel for the alignment.

There are three possible modes of operation for the shaft generator in conjunction with the main propulsion engine. In Power Take Out (PTO) mode it supplies the main power for the vessel’s electrical network. This optimizes the use of the large engine, while reducing the need to run auxiliary generators, saving on fuel costs and lowering emissions. In Power Take In (PTI) mode the shaft generator acts as a synchronous motor for an additional power boost for propulsion. It can also provide Power Take Home (PTH) for emergency propulsion should the main engine fail.

The permanent magnet shaft generator and drive combination can also power thruster motors, enable shore to ship connections and connect other DC power sources or DC power consumers. Under its first order, ABB is supplying the permanent magnet shaft generators for a fleet of twelve 210,000 dwt dual-fuel bulk carriers owned by Bermuda-based Himalaya Shipping.



Yes, but when will you start work on the main sin of the shipping transportation sector; i.e., reducing the gross pollution from burning bunker oil in diesel engines?


So it saves 17% of the fuel that the normal diesel generator would require but how much is this compared to the total fuel burn. Another question that I would have is whether this generator/motor can be used as a starter motor. I believe that on most of these ships, it is not possible to stop and restart the main engine so that the engine is always running at a low idle even in port.

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