ABB is launching a new Azipod podded electric propulsion unit that it says is up to 10% more fuel efficient than previous versions. The linear flow Azipod XL achieves this improvement via the use of a nozzle with stator plates that directs the water flow from the propeller to reduce turbulence and energy loss and improve thrust, according to the company.Azipod propulsion is a gearless steerable propulsion system with the electric drive motor located in a submerged pod outside the ship hull. Image credit: ABB.Azipod propulsion is a gearless steerable propulsion system with the electric drive motor located in a submerged pod outside the ship hull. Image credit: ABB.

Azipod propulsion is a gearless steerable propulsion system with the electric drive motor located in a submerged pod outside the ship hull. The technology operates by drawing water into the propeller and pulling the vessel.

As the Azipod XL has 360-degree maneuverability, it is used to steer and drive vessels at the same time. The unit is designed to give high bollard pull thrust at lower speed while maintaining good characteristics at higher speeds.

According to Juha Koskela, managing director of ABB’s Marine and Ports business, Azipod propulsion is widely used in the cruise industry and on many specialized offshore vessels. ABB believes the improved fuel efficiency and bollard pull of the Azipod XL will increase its attractiveness to new sectors, such as tugs, ferries and LNG tankers.

Smart sensors installed in the units will send data to ABB’s integrated operations centers, allowing customers to optimize maintenance schedules.

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