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First ABB electric propulsion for bulker installations

ABB is entering a new market segment with an order to install its Azipod electric propulsion on board two dry bulk carriers from Germany’s Oldendorff Carriers.

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First ABB electric propulsion for bulker installations

Two self-unloading dry cargo transhipment units will be the first bulk carriers in the industry to feature ABB’s Azipod electric propulsion. Both vessels, due for delivery from the Chengxi Shipyard in China in 2021, will be equipped with complete power and propulsion solutions from ABB.


Each 21,500 dwt vessel will feature two 1.9MW Azipod units. ABB will also supply a wide range of electric, digital and connected solutions, including main diesel-electric power plant, generators, bow thruster motors, transformers, switchboards and the power management system for propulsion and cargo handling.


“The choice of Azipod electric propulsion system has reduced the investment costs dramatically, as the vessels are already equipped with high power generation required for self-unloading/loading cargo handling,” said Jan Henneberg, newbuilding manager at Oldendorff Carriers.


“These shuttle vessels must perform reliably over an extended period at maximum efficiency, and need to be especially manoeuvrable in shallow waters.”


Controlling a fleet of around 700 ships, Oldendorff Carriers is Germany’s largest operator of bulk carriers. Around 95% of its owned fleet is comprised of ‘eco’ newbuilds delivered since 2014, which are specifically designed for low fuel-consumption and reduced carbon footprint.


“This is a significant breakthrough for Azipod propulsion, reaching a ship type that some suggested would always remain closed to podded propulsion,” said Juha Koskela, managing director of ABB Marine and Ports.


“We are especially pleased to add Oldendorff Carriers as an Azipod propulsion reference, considering its reputation for building and operating high quality, reliable and environmentally friendly ships.”


The newbuild vessels are developed by Shanghai-based design company CS Marine, together with Oldendorff Carriers. The self-loading vessels will be able to unload cargo utilising a built-in conveyor system, without the need for assistance from shoreside equipment or personnel.


Oldendorff Carriers will deploy the vessels for offshore transhipment operations from oceangoing vessels before delivery to the final destination.


Once in operation, the vessels will be among over 1,000 ships connected to ABB Ability Collaborative Operation Centers worldwide, from where ABB experts monitor operational shipboard systems and offer 24/7 remote support.


ABB said the vessels will leverage its Ability Remote Diagnostic System, which deploys sensor-driven onboard monitoring software that fully integrates with analytics ashore.


The Azipod propulsion system, where the electric drive motor is in a submerged pod outside the ship hull, can rotate 360 degrees to increase manoeuvrability and operating efficiency, as well as maximising cargo space on board.


ABB said that over the course of close to three decades, it has supplied Azipod units for about 25 vessel types, with the propulsion system accumulating more than 15 million running hours in total.


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