Combination of three propulsion technologies brings maritime fuel savings

November 4, 2013

According to the TRIPOD research project coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland lower fuel consumption and emissions are expected for an innovative propulsion system to be used as a promising alternative to conventional propellers. Annual fuel savings for a single cargo ship above half million euros are foreseen. The research examined the benefits derived from combining the RudderPod propulsion units developed by ABB-Finland with the contracted loaded tip propellers (CLT) developed by the Spanish company Sistemar and with contra-rotating propellers (CRP).

Based on the TRIPOD project results, the of a retrofitted is 5% lower, and that of a newly built system 10% lower, than conventional solutions. Equivalent annual for a single large container ship would be 0.5 to one million euros.

The goal of the TRIPOD project was to improve propeller efficiency by integrating three separate technologies – the RudderPod units, CLT and the CRP propulsion–, already known for their high efficiency over conventional propulsion into a single system.

The electric RudderPod unit can be positioned more freely at the ship stern, independently of the location of the main engine. In TRIPOD, the units are located behind the main propeller working as the aft-propeller of a CRP unit. The rotational speed of the Rudderpod propeller can also be adjusted, improving the propeller's efficiency and attenuating propeller-induced noise and vibration.

The CLT propeller blades can be more loaded at the tip than those of conventional propellers, which results in an improvement of the propulsion efficiency.

In the CRP system, the contra-rotating aft propeller recovers rotational energy losses from the fore (main) propeller, thus improves overall efficiency.

Study of the viability of the new propulsion solutions is made also by performing economical cost benefit analysis for the operation of the reference ships. It was concluded that if the investment level can be brought down, obviously in close cooperation with the relevant specialist suppliers, ship-owners will be interested to explore further installation opportunities especially in new-building projects of large container ships.

Explore further: Detecting material defects in ship propellers

Related Stories

Detecting material defects in ship propellers

April 2, 2012

Ship propellers are as large as a single-family home – and manufacturing them is quite a challenge. During the casting process, pores and miniscule cracks can form that in the worst case may cause a blade to break. Now ...

Container ships become more energy-efficient

September 21, 2012

Technology and Software from Siemens are making the world's largest container ships more energy-efficient. The Korean shipbuilding company Daewoo is building 20 container ships for the Danish shipping company Maersk, each ...

Ship will make its own waves for rig safety (w/ Video)

September 26, 2013

( —A so-called "hotel" ship to accommodate offshore oil rig workers is under construction, which will be engineered in a way to maintain its stability even over rough seas. The new Norwegian ship will make its ...

Saturn Propellers Reflect Solar System Origins

July 8, 2010

( -- Scientists using NASA's Cassini spacecraft at Saturn have stalked a new class of moons in the rings of Saturn that create distinctive propeller-shaped gaps in ring material. It marks the first time scientists ...

Recommended for you

Microsoft aims at Apple with high-end PCs, 3D software

October 26, 2016

Microsoft launched a new consumer offensive Wednesday, unveiling a high-end computer that challenges the Apple iMac along with an updated Windows operating system that showcases three-dimensional content and "mixed reality."

Making it easier to collaborate on code

October 26, 2016

Git is an open-source system with a polarizing reputation among programmers. It's a powerful tool to help developers track changes to code, but many view it as prohibitively difficult to use.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.