Chinese polar icebreaker to have Azipod propulsion

MAY 12, 2016 — A Chinese polar science research icebreaker will have an ABB Azipod propulsion system.

The Polar Research Institute of China ship —the first vessel of its type to be built in China — will be fitted with two Azipod VI units with combined power of 15 MW.The icebreaker will be able to operate stern or bow first thanks the Azipod thrusters' ability to turn 360 degrees.

With a built-in high-efficiency AC motor and fixed-pitch propeller mounted directly on the motor shaft, the Azipod has revolutionized the ice-going segment. While mechanical thrusters have complex transmission with gears and shafts, the Azipod has only electrical cables between the power source and the electric motor.

Juha Koskela, Managing Director of ABB's Marine and Ports business said, "ABB delivered its first electric propulsion system to an icebreaker in 1939 and we are delighted to be playing such an important role in the first vessel of this type to be constructed in China. This deal reflects the close ties we have built within China"

The multifunctional icebreaker will be used for science research and has a displacement of 14,300 tons. It can break ice layers with horizontal thickness of up to 1.5 m forwards and backwards, with a continuous icebreaking speed of 2-3 knots.

The new vessel will complement the "Xue Long" icebreaker, promoting the development of polar science research in China.

For two of the vessel's four engines, ABB Turbocharging will also supply A100-M turbochargers, offering high turbocharging efficiency and enabling excellent engine load response which is critical for the adverse ambient environment of the icebreaker.

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