ABB is to supply the complete electric power and propulsion package for the Virgin Voyages’ cruise ship fleet.
The first of three Virgin Voyages vessels is due for delivery in 2020.
Each of the 110,000 gt vessels will feature ABB’s patented Azipod propulsion This propulsion system has become an industry standard in the cruise segment, with the proven ability to cut fuel consumption by up to 15%, compared to traditional shaftline propulsion systems, ABB claimed.
“Making Virgin Voyages environmentally sustainable is central to our vision and we are delighted ABB’s Azipod propulsion will help us achieve that goal. Combined with excellent manoeuvrability, it was a natural choice for our ships,” said Stuart Hawkins, Virgin Voyages’ Senior Vice President, Marine and Technical Operations.
“Azipod electric propulsion stands for innovation and efficiency like no other propulsion system and is fundamental to our vision of electric, digital and connected shipping,” said Peter Terwiesch, president ABB’s Industrial Automation division. “Based on 25 years of experience and development, our Azipod propulsion technology continues to lead ships into the future of e-mobility, underpinning our commitment to a technology with superior performance, reliability, safety and environmental profile.”
Two Azipod XO units, with a combined propulsion power of 32 MW (43,000 hp) will propel each of the three ships. In addition to highest energy efficiency, Azipod XO units, where ‘X’ stands for ‘next generation’ and ‘O’ for open water operation, provide high manoeuvrability and minimal noise for increased passenger comfort, the company said.
Each vessel will feature ABB’s complete electric power plant concept – including electricity generators, main switchboards, distribution transformers and a remote control system for manoeuvring the Azipod units from the bridge. The combination of Azipod propulsion and ABB’s electric power plant concept makes it possible to configure all of the equipment for optimised performance, resulting in increased efficiency and lower emissions.
In line with ABB’s ‘Electric. Digital. Connected.’ approach that envisages shipping’s digital and connected future, these vessels will have the capability to connect to the ABB Ability collaborative operations centres infrastructure. This network uses remote equipment monitoring and data analytics to enable predictive maintenance, planned interventions or even remote technical support.
The 4-stroke engines powering the electricity generators – four per vessel – will be equipped with ABB’s TPL-C turbochargers, designed to handle demanding operations and consistently chosen for large cruise ships.
Each ship will be 278 m long and 38 m wide and accommodate more than 2,700 pax and 1,150 crew. All three ships will be built at Fincantieri’s Genoa shipyard, with the second and third vessel deliveries scheduled for 2021 and 2022, respectively.
Since the first installation over 25 years ago, Azipod propulsion is claimed to have saved around 700,000 tonnes of fuel while clocking up close to 15 mill running hours at an availability rate of 99.8%. In March 2018, Azipod propulsion secured its 100th contract to power a cruise ship.