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ABB introduces Dynafin propulsion system to increase ship efficiency; mimicking movements of whale tail

ABB introduced ABB Dynafin, a new propulsion system concept breaking new ground for efficiency in the marine industry. Inspired by the dynamic motions of a whale’s tail, the innovative concept is the result of more than a decade of research, development, and testing. ABB estimates the first prototype to be available in 2025.

The new propulsion concept features a main electric motor that powers a large wheel rotating at a moderate 30-80 rounds per minute. Vertical blades, each controlled by an individual motor and control system, extend from the wheel. The combined motion of the wheel and blades generates propulsion and steering forces simultaneously, enabling operational efficiency and precision for ships. The concept follows ABB’s proven design philosophy in marine propulsion of gearless power transmission.


An independent study of ABB Dynafin from OSK-ShipTech A/S of a passenger vessel design equipped with different propulsion solutions has verified savings in propulsion energy consumption of up to 22% compared to conventional shaftline configuration. This can deliver significant savings in fuel consumption and help to avoid emissions. As part of an electric propulsion power system, the concept is also fully compatible with zero-emission battery and fuel cell technologies.

Initially available in the power range of 1–4 MW per unit, the new propulsion concept is particularly effective for medium-sized and smaller vessels, including ferries for passengers and vehicles, offshore support vessels operating at wind farms, and yachts, ABB says.

By reducing vibrations and noise levels, the system improves passenger and crew comfort. In addition, the propulsion concept delivers superior maneuverability, and positioning performance—i.e., the capacity of the vessel to maintain the desired position and heading.

The new concept is the latest addition to ABB’s portfolio comprising electric, automated and digital technologies. With its expertise in electric and hybrid propulsion, the company has been pushing the boundaries of technology, and driving efficiency, performance, and sustainability to new levels through the 30-year plus track record of Azipod propulsion. The new propulsion concept will complement the existing propulsion portfolio.

The shipping industry contributes to almost 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions annually; if it were a country, it would be the sixth-largest emitter. However, with about 90% of global trade being carried on ships, it is central for the movement of goods. If no action is taken, shipping could be responsible for up to 13% of global emissions by 2050. At the same time, the International Maritime Organization has set the goal to cut annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050, against 2008 levels.

While there is consensus in the industry that no single solution can provide a ‘silver bullet’, low-carbon fuels, alternative power sources, data analytics and energy-saving devices all have a part to play, and the role of new innovations may become notable.



A somewhat roundabout presentation, but interesting tech.
With more sophisticated control systems, we can begin to emulate the efficiency of biological ones.

Here are stabilisers for smaller boats, which are purely electric without the complications of hydraulics:

And of course there are the Candelas, which can fly above the water on hydrofoils, with enormous savings in energy, thanks to a very sophisticated computerised control system:


LOL, it's just a
Voith Schneider Propeller



And why are you presenting that as though it were a terrible thing?

From the wiki you quote:

' In 1928 a prototype was installed in a 60-hp motor launch named Torqueo '

I would imagine that the abilities we have now to electrify and computer control the propellor system give a very different performance envelope, and the article you quote also specifies that it is very efficient,

In the same way, stabilisers for ships have been around a long time, but the modern system I quoted above has got rid of the complexity, weight and reliability issues of the hydraulics.

Some things need a certain level of technology behind them, but then can become very interesting.

Electric cars are as old as combustion engine ones, but it was not until modern batteries came along that they could compete.

I don't see it being 'Just a Voith Schneider Propeller' as being the show stopper you seem to be presenting it as.



I sound more negative towards your comment than I intended.
Your knowledge is clear, as you identified the tech to be that in the Voith, so kudos for the spot.

I do often feel with some of your comments though that you are perhaps rather inclined to very sweeping dismissals!


They are a bit different to a Voith Schneider Propeller, as they seem to have pointed ends rather than blunter ends of the VSP as shown in wiki.
This may be a result of more sophisticated CFD (computational fluid dynamics), and thus they may be more efficient than the originals.

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