ABB to supply ice-classed Azipod® propulsion for new polar research vessel

ABB to supply ice-classed Azipod® propulsion for new polar research vessel

• ABB has won an order to deliver compact Azipod® DI propulsion system to the new polar research icebreaker of Chinese Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering

• The efficiency and flexibility of Azipod® propulsion are fully compatible with the environmental imperative driving the vessel’s ‘SILENT A’ notation

• The order opens a new chapter in ABB’s long-standing collaboration with Guangzhou Shipyard International

ABB has received an order from the Guangzhou Shipyard International to supply Azipod® DI propulsion system for the new compact icebreaker of China’s Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering. The ship is expected to be delivered in 2025, after which it will begin to carry out operations in the Arctic and Antarctic Ocean.

A complete electric propulsion system including two 4.5 MW Azipod® units will drive the vessel through harsh weather and thick first-year ice to enable research on behalf of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The 103-meter vessel will have a maximum speed of 16 knots, draft displacement of about 9,200 tons, and icebreaking capacity of 1.2 meters ice and 20 cm snow at the continuous speed of two knots. The ship is designed to operate both bow first and astern in ice with an enhanced Polar Class 4 (PC4) ice-breaking level. With a capacity of cruising range of 15,000 nautical miles, it can accommodate a crew of 80 people.

The new research vessel will be equipped to China Classification Society (CCS) LEVEL 2 notation standards on digitalization and fulfill Underwater Rated Noise SILENT A notation. SILENT A notation covers vessels that are ‘acoustically sensitive’, whose underwater noise emissions are controlled. The criteria are designed to limit high frequency noise, while additionally Azipod® electric propulsion mitigates the practical challenges of reducing low frequency noise and minimizes ecological impact.

“ABB has extensive experience and a strong local presence in delivering propulsion products, systems and support we can trust,” said Mr. Guangwei He, Vice Chief Engineer of Guangzhou Shipyard International Company Limited. “Polar Class vessels represent a growing area of expertise for GSI, and we are delighted to work with a reliable partner whose reference list for proven technology in this demanding segment is unrivalled.”

We are honored to have been chosen to cooperate with GSI again,” said Kerry Yang, Local Division Manager, ABB Marine & Ports China. “This marks the 20th year since ABB Marine & Ports established itself locally in China and we continue to take great pride in localizing our products and services to meet regional requirements in the best possible way.”

The propulsion units supplied will represent ABB’s compact Azipod® DI range, which has been developed for both robustness and simplicity, and to offer strength and reliability in the most challenging ice conditions.

Working with shipbuilders worldwide, ABB technology has been installed on over 150 ice-class and icebreaking vessels. Azipod® propulsion system has been central in the success, establishing itself as the ice-going propulsion solution of choice over a 30-year period. With the electric drive motor situated in a submerged pod outside the hull and the ability to rotate 360 degrees, Azipod® units enable independent ice-breaking and significantly better maneuverability compared to shaftline solutions.

ABB’s Process Automation business automates, electrifies and digitalizes industrial operations that address a wide range of essential needs – from supplying energy, water and materials, to producing goods and transporting them to market. With its ~20,000 employees, leading technology and service expertise, ABB Process Automation helps customers in process, hybrid and maritime industries improve performance and safety of operations, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future.

ABB is a technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company’s solutions connect engineering know-how and software to optimize how things are manufactured, moved, powered and operated. Building on more than 130 years of excellence, ABB’s ~105,000 employees are committed to driving innovations that accelerate industrial transformation.


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