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ABB reveals ‘industry first’ electric propulsion concept

ABB has developed the ABB Dynafin, which mimics the movements of a whale tail to optimise vessel efficiency.

The result of over a decade of research, development and testing, ABB says the concept represents a ‘revolutionary propulsion system breaking new ground for efficiency in the marine industry.’ The company expects the first prototype to be available in 2025.

‘The new concept features a main electric motor that powers a large wheel rotating at a moderate 30-80 rounds per minute. Vertical blades, each controlled by an individual motor and control system, extend from the wheel. The combined motion of the wheel and blades generates propulsion and steering forces simultaneously.

Initially available in the power range of 1–4 MW per unit, ABB says the concept will be particularly effective for medium-sized and smaller vessels, including ferries for passengers and vehicles, offshore support vessels operating at wind farms, and yachts.

ABB also highlights an independent study of ABB Dynafin from OSK-ShipTech A/S of a passenger vessel design equipped with different propulsion solutions which verified savings in propulsion energy consumption of up to 22 percent compared to conventional shaftline configuration. ABB also noted that, as part of an electric propulsion power system, the concept is also fully compatible with zero-emission battery and fuel cell technologies.

‘ABB Dynafin shows what is possible when marine engineers pursue radical innovation and progress, inspired by the interplay of evolution and technology,’ said Juha Koskela, Division President, ABB Marine & Ports.

‘This solution is all about operational efficiency and emissions avoidance, leveraging innovations from the brightest minds in marine and propulsion engineering. I want to thank the whole team for their persistence, resilience, innovativeness, and years of hard work.’

Image: ABB

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

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