ABB Introduces New ‘Azipod D’ Electric Thruster

The Azipod electric propulsion system, a streamlined steerable pod motor mounted below the ship, with the propeller connected directly to the motor shaft, has become the preferred propulsion system across a range of shipping segments. Illustration: ABB
The Azipod electric propulsion system, a streamlined steerable pod motor mounted below the ship, with the propeller connected directly to the motor shaft, has become the preferred propulsion system across a range of shipping segments. Illustration: ABB

Swiss-based power and automation group ABB has introduced a new addition to its line of Azipod propulsion systems to the growing electric propulsion market.

ABB says the new product, known as ‘Azipod D’, allows a wider range of vessel types to benefit from the reliability and flexibility that has made Azipod the leading propulsion system across numerous ship types. ABB’s gearless Azipod propulsion systems are already used on a range of vessels such as cruise vessels, icebreakers, ice-going cargo vessels and offshore accommodation ships. The Azipod D is expected to appeal to even more shipping segments, such as offshore drilling, construction and support vessels and ferries.

“We’re excited to expand the Azipod propulsion family and make the benefits of electric propulsion available to a wider range of ships. Shipowners and operators demand solutions that are reliable and improve their competitiveness in a volatile market – the Azipod D is our answer to these demands,” said Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB’s Process Automation division.

ABB’s Azipod D propulsion power ranges from 1.6 megawatts to 7 megawatts (MW) per unit. ABB says that the new thruster will provide superior maneuverability, competitive investment cost, ease of service and maintenance, and a significant performance increase compared to mechanical thrusters.

The Azipod D requires up to 25 percent less installed power, according to ABB, partly due to the fact that a new hybrid cooling system increases the performance of the electric motor by up to 45 percent.

ABB says that characteristics of Azipod propulsion make it particularly appealing to the offshore shipping segments where vessels use dynamic positioning and require the highest reliability. In conjunction with electric propulsion, Azipod propulsion system is the ideal solution to meet varying power demand, high propulsion efficiency and flexibility, all of which are typical requirements of the offshore industry

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 first introduced the Azipod electric propulsion system in 1987. The unit power of Azipod propulsion systems is available up to 22 MW