2020 October 16 17:36

Krylov Center scientists developed 6.5 MW electric propulsion/steering unit

It will let substitute widely used Azipod units

As directed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, scientists of Krylov State Research Center (KSRC) have developed an electric propulsion/steering unit (EPSU) of 6.5 MW allowing to substitute widely used Azipod units manufactured by ABB, a Swiss-Swedish corporation, KSRC told IAA PortNews.

Amid the sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU countries, supplies of foreign EPSUs needed for the majority of large ships are at risk. Propulsion/steering systems are an alternative to a conventional shaftline design and their application in global shipbuilding is rapidly expanding being driven by numerous economic and technical advantages ensured by the alternative design.

For example, they ensure up to 15% of cargo capacity increase, safety of ships and more convenient maintenance of their power plants. Propulsion/steering systems are the best for icebreakers and ice-class ships, gas carriers and tankers, drilling ships and platforms, research ships and other types of vessels for which accurate dynamic positioning is crucial. In view of the tenfold increase of cargo traffic on the Northern Sea Route within the coming five years, creation of domestic EPSUs for certain types of ships and shelf development facilities becomes a strategically significant task under state programmes for Arctic development.

The prototype model of Russia’s first EPSU built by the order of the Ministry of Industry and Trade is fully based on technologies and components of domestic origin. The unit is designed to ensure maneuvering and all motion modes of warships and civil vessels of up to and including Arc5 class under conditions of unrestricted navigation.

One of the key advantages of Russian EPSU over ABB’s Azipod is the combined (water/air) cooling system featuring lower weight and size.

“Krylov State research Center is the first developer of a technology for construction of electric propulsion/steering units in our country through a wide cooperation with domestic enterprises. The work performed will let develop a range of EPSU types of various capacity within a short time”, said Oleg Petrovichev, Chief Project Designer.

“The development of a technological chain engaging Russian manufactures lets escape the establishment of dedicated production facilities thus allowing for financial savings which was among the key tasks set by the Customer”, added Anatoly Popov, head of Special Project Management Service.

The model of the new unit has undergone the complete range of tests in the KSRC basins including the test in its unique ice basin; the model tests completed in September confirmed the system’s design characteristics.

“In view of uncertain requirements in respect of the future unit’s characteristics it was decided to develop a model with a maximum scope of application ensured by ice resistance of Arc5 minimum. While designing and testing in the ice basin, the model was used to simulate independent movement of a ship in a continuous field ice with thickness equivalent to 1.6 meters and movement through a canal with thickness equivalent to 2.2 meters. Arc5 requirements foresee independent movement in one-year loose-pack Arctic ice of up to 0.8 meters thick in winter-spring navigation season and up to 1.0 meter thick in summer-autumn navigation season. The newly created EPSU can have an Arctic and standard class with a maximum level of unification”, emphasized Dmitry Novikov, Deputy to the General Director for Special Projects.

The designers believe that the requirement on local production of propulsion/steering units effective from June 1 will facilitate strengthening of domestic technologies’ position in the Russian market. The policy of sanctions pursued by the West has brought a reverse effect driven by mobilization of Russia’s administrative and scientific potential. The process has resulted in the appearance of unique technologies substantially superior to their foreign counterparts.

The developments were initiated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.