ABB: transforming maritime transportation in sustainable ways

Global pressures of climate change, emerging-market economic development and growing urbanization demand new and more environmentally sustainable ways to move people and goods. ABB has become one of the world’s leading enablers of sustainable transportation for all modes, including marine vessels.

Electric, digital and connected vision for shipping

ABB’s role as a front runner in sustainable transportation is to equip the marine industry with electric, digital and connected solutions that maximize the full potential of vessels and ultimately enable a safe, efficient and sustainable maritime industry.

As part of the company’s pioneering role in electric transportation, ABB has provided electric systems on board vessels for more than 110 years. Today, well over 1,300 ships employ ABB’s electric system. Modern ships are being built on the foundation of electricity, which expands their range of viable energy sources beyond traditional fuel to, for instance, batteries and fuel cells.


Saving fuel and reducing emissions with Azipod® electric propulsion

In 1990, ABB transformed maritime shipping by introducing Azipod® propulsion, an electric propulsion system for marine vessels. The Azipod® propulsion, which extends below the hull of a ship, can rotate 360 degrees to increase maneuverability, efficiency and space available on board.

Today, a wide range of vessels depend on Azipod® propulsion, including cruise ships; icebreakers and ice-going cargo vessels; ferries and mega-yachts; offshore supply fleets; research vessels; wind turbine installation boats and drilling rigs.

Azipod® propulsion has become the industry standard in the cruise segment, securing the 100th cruise ship order in early 2018, with a contract to power the world’s first electric hybrid icebreaker. Energy savings equivalent to 700,000 tons of fuel have been made in the cruise sector due to the selection of Azipod®.

Electrifying the world’s largest emission-free ferries

In 2018, ABB has completed a conversion project of world’s largest emission-free ferries for ForSea. The two ferries, Tycho Brahe and Aurora, have been converted from conventional diesel engine operations to battery power, as part of ForSea’s strategy to reduce the environmental footprint. The vessels operate on a high intensity ferry route that transfers over 7.4 million passengers and 1.9 million vehicles between urban port terminals in Denmark and Sweden.

The conversion of these over 100-meter ferries, built in 1991 and 1992, required installation of a 4160 kWh battery on each vessel. ABB has supplied automated shore-side charging stations using an industrial robot to optimize the connection time and maximize the charging period, leveraging 3D laser scanning and wireless communication between ship and shore.

Efficient vessel management with ABB Ability™

As the shipping industry is increasingly facing challenges such as environmental regulation and global oversupply in ships there is increasing need for efficient vessel management. With ABB Ability™, ABB’s unified, cross-industry, digital offering, the marine industry has a comprehensive decision support software suite that gives vessel crews the right tools to monitor and optimize vessel efficiency. It also helps owners and operators to optimize route planning, comply with environmental regulations from the EU and the IMO, and improve the safety of both crew and cargo.

Running the world without consuming the Earth

ABB’s role as a world leader in sustainable transportation is more crucial than ever. ABB believes in running the world without consuming the Earth – and is using its technological expertise to make this happen.


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