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30 years of Azipod

First seen on the Finnish icegoing vessel Seili in 1991, ABB's Azipod® electric propulsion has clocked over 20 million running hours at an impressive availability rate of 99.9 percent.

Today, over 25 different vessel types rely on Azipod® technology – from cruise ships to cargo carriers, icebreakers, tugs, dredgers, ferries and superyachts. In total, ABB has sold over 700 Azipod® units over the course of three decades.

Azipod® propulsion was initially designed as a future-proof system able to adapt to virtually any energy source. With the electric drive motor at its core, the Azipod® system can be powered by electricity drawn from different energy sources including batteries and fuel cells, and vessel owners can add or exchange power sources as they evolve. Electrical power minimizes engine noise and vibration as well, ensuring a smoother, quieter ride.

With the electric drive motor housed within a pod outside the vessel’s  hull, the Azipod® system can rotate 360 degrees, increasing manoeuvrability and allowing even the largest vessels to dock in harbours where turning circles are restricted. Crucially, Azipod® propulsion also improves operating efficiency, boosting a vessel’s hydrodynamic performance and cutting fuel consumption by up to 20 percent when compared with a traditional shaftline setup. Space saved by locating the motor outside the ship allows for more flexible design and frees up space for other features.

Juha Koskela, Division President, ABB Marine & Ports said, “Azipod® technology will help any vessel type cut cost and carbon footprint, both because it is a superior propulsion solution and because it further improves the greater efficiency inherent in electric propulsion.

“An independent study in 2019 showed that Azipod® propulsion could help ferry owners save $1.7 million in annual fuel costs per vessel while cutting CO2 emissions by approximately 10,000 tons. With International Maritime Organization’s goal to halve greenhouse gas emissions from ships by 2050, I am confident that Azipod® propulsion will be driving sustainable shipping in 30 years’ time, and beyond.”

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