Azipod propulsion systems feature an exterior electric motor that facilitates more efficient and flexible energy use aboard ships. While a typical ship propulsion system uses a mechanical process, with a diesel engine directly driving the main propeller shaft, the Azipod propulsion system uses an electric process, with the same generator that provides onboard electricity also powering the main propeller. An electrical control system between the generators and propellers provides stepless power to the propeller motors (allowing variable adjustment) and can adjust the speed of the propellers, which allows the generators to run at optimum efficiency levels regardless of the vessel’s speed.
Azipod technology was originally patented in 1955, but the first commercial application of the Azipod system did not occur until 1990. The technology has evolved over the years through refinements to the original design such as simplified maintenance and enhanced controls. As of today, Azipod systems have logged more than 9 million hours of operation on 105 vessels of various types, particularly cruise ships, offshore and research vessels, and ice-going ships.
Azipod systems feature their electric motor housed in a submerged pod completely outside the hull of the ship. Power is fed to the pod via cables from diesel generators inside the ship, while a dedicated control system featuring circuit breakers, protective equipment and electrical drives (i.e., motor controls) is managed from the ship’s bridge. This streamlined propulsion system eliminates the need for rudders, stern transversal thrusters or long shaftlines inside the hull. It also gives the ship greater maneuverability with pods able to rotate a full 360 degrees.
Business Roundtable members are creating technologies that actively contribute to a more efficient, secure and sustainable future for their customers and the public at large.
In Inventing the Future: How Technology Is Reshaping the Energy and Environmental Landscape Business Roundtable highlights just a small sample of technologies that are actively contributing to a more efficient, secure and sustainable future.
Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies working to promote a thriving economy and expanded opportunity for all Americans through sound public policy.