Switzerland-based technology company ABB is set to launch a new version of its Azipod propulsion unit, which is up to 10% more efficient than its previous editions.

The new system, which provides better efficiency and bollard pull, has been designed to help save the maritime industry millions of tonnes of fuel.

Azipod XL, which comes with a nozzle with stator plates, directs the water flow from the propeller to reduce the turbulence and energy loss, as well as providing the vessel with the optimum amount of thrust.

"The new Azipod XL is completely in step with the needs of the maritime industry."

With the new linear flow Azipod XL, ABB further aims to expand the presence of the podded electric propulsion system.

ABB marine and ports business managing director Juha Koskela said: “The new Azipod XL is completely in step with the needs of the maritime industry.

“Ship owners always want solutions which improve their bottom line whilst more stringent emission regulations are pushing operators to utilise the most efficient propulsion system possible.”

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The company said that if the new model replaces all the current Azipod units it would save the shipping industry 2.2 million tonnes of fuel, and seven million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next 25 years.  

The Azipod unit, during its initial installation phase, helped save 700,000 tonnes of fuel.

The propulsion system functions by drawing water into the propeller and pulling the vessel forward. The addition of a nozzle will help optimise the water flow as it leaves the propeller.

Koskela added: “Azipod propulsion is widely used in the cruise industry and on many complex specialised offshore vessels.

“However improved fuel efficiency and bollard pull of the Azipod XL will increase its competitiveness into new sectors such as tugs, ferries and LNG tankers.”

Smart sensors installed in the new Azipod XL units send data to ABB’s integrated operations centres, enabling the company to interact with the customer regarding maintenance.

Image: ABB’s new Azipod XL propulsion system. Photo: courtesy of ABB.