Shipping accounts for nearly three percent of global greenhouse gas emissions annually. If shipping were a country, it would be the sixth largest emitter. With around 90 percent of global trade carried by sea, the industry is central to the movement of goods. If no action is taken, shipping could be responsible for up to 13 percent of global emissions by 2050. At the same time, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has proclaimed a goal of reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by at least 50 percent by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. There is a consensus in the industry that this will not be achieved with a single panacea. Rather, low-carbon fuels, alternative energy sources, data analytics and energy-saving equipment will all play a role, and new innovations can also make an important contribution.
ABB has an innovative concept for a revolutionary propulsion system that sets new standards for efficiency in shipping. ABB Dynafin is the result of more than ten years of research, development and testing and is based on the dynamic movements of a whale’s tail. ABB expects the first prototype to be available in 2025. The new propulsion concept includes an electric main motor that drives a large wheel rotating at a moderate 30-80 rpm. Vertical blades extend from the wheel, each governed by its own motor and control system. The combined motion of the wheel and paddles generates propulsive and steering forces simultaneously, enabling pioneering efficiency and precision in marine operations. The concept follows ABB’s proven design philosophy of gearless power transmission for marine propulsion.
An independent study by OSK-ShipTech A/S through ABB Dynafin on a passenger ship equipped with various propulsion solutions has demonstrated energy savings of up to 22 percent compared to a design with conventional shaft drive. This enables a significant reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. As part of an electric drive system, the concept also features full compatibility with zero-emission battery and fuel cell technology.
The new propulsion concept will initially be available in the power range of 1-4 megawatts per unit and will be particularly suitable for medium-sized and smaller vessels, including passenger and vehicle ferries, offshore supply vessels for use at wind farms, and yachts. The system reduces vibrations and noise generation, thus increasing comfort for passengers and crew. In addition, the propulsion concept ensures excellent maneuverability and positioning performance – the ability of the vessel to maintain the desired position and course.
ABB Dynafin is the latest addition to ABB’s portfolio of electric, automated and digital technologies. Since the introduction of the Azipod® drive more than 30 years ago, the company has been pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible with its market-leading expertise in electric and hybrid drives, delivering significant improvements in efficiency, performance and sustainability. The new concept will complement the existing drive portfolio.