ABB Azipod marks 30 years of electric propulsion

ABB is celebrating 30 years of Azipod electric propulsion. Over the last three decades, ABB says it has developed Azipod propulsion to meet varied and ever-changing needs of shipping companies. Today, over 25 different vessel types rely on Azipod technology – from cruise ships to cargo carriers, icebreakers, ferries and superyachts. In total, ABB has sold over 700 Azipod units over the course of 30 years.

The company believes it has revolutionised marine transport with its performance, efficiency, sustainability and reliability.

It was first seen on the Finnish icegoing vessel Seili in 1991.

“The launch of the Azipod technology in 1991 marked a new era in ship propulsion and has firmly established ABB’s contribution to reducing the environmental impact of the maritime industry,” says Björn Rosengren, CEO of ABB. “I am convinced that this state-of-the-art technology will continue to play a major part in supporting our role as a front runner in sustainable transportation.”

ABB says Azipod propulsion has set numerous records in the shipping industry, from powering the largest cruise vessels to enabling the first crossings of the Northern Sea Route for tankers without icebreaker assistance.

The system was initially designed to adapt to virtually any energy source. With the electric drive motor at its core, the company says that its Azipod system can be powered by electricity drawn from different energy sources including batteries and fuel cells, and shipowners can add or exchange power sources as they evolve. Electrical power minimises engine noise and vibration as well, ensuring a smoother, quieter ride.

“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,” says Juha Koskela, division president, ABB Marine & Ports. “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 Organisation’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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