Wasaline’s clean design RoPax ferry gets ABB’s Azipod electric propulsion

September 14, 2020
ABB Azipod electric propulsion
Image courtesy: ABB

Aurora Botnia, Wasaline’s new the 150-meter car and passenger ferry, has been fitted with ABB’s ice-class Azipod electric propulsion. 

The new ferry, launched by the Finnish shipyard Rauma Marine Constructions, will be operated by Wasaline on the world’s northernmost all-year passenger route between Vaasa in Finland and Umeå in Sweden.

Each of the five blades of the Azipod units is about two meters long. They are made from nickel aluminum bronze for increased strength and excellent performance in both open and ice-covered waters.

The Azipod units where the electric drive motor in a submerged pod outside the ship’s hull, can rotate through 360 degrees.

“We chose ABB’s Azipod electric propulsion for several reasons,” said Peter Ståhlberg, Wasaline CEO.

“Superior maneuverability will save time and increase productivity, enabling precise schedules to be maintained on this route. We calculated likely annual time savings of close to four days of operation, which was compelling. The solution also saves valuable space on board and simplifies hull construction. Access to ABB’s training and support services in Finland were other major plus points.”

The new ferry will be the first-ever RoPax ferry with a Clean Design class notation. The vessel will have a hybrid power generation system, as well as an electric propulsion system rarely used in car and passenger ferries.

The four main engines, supplied by Wärtsilä, will run on both liquified natural gas and liquefied biogas, helping cut emissions in the Kvarken region of the Gulf of Bothnia.

The ferry can make use of biogas from a plant in Vaasa, which produces gas from recycled materials. When the vessel is approaching the harbor or departing, it can operate using electrical power from a rather large battery pack.

 “We were able to install the Azipod units in just one week. For us as a shipbuilder, this translates into significant project flexibility by helping to optimize time and resources,” Johanna Kaijo, Rauma Marine Constructions’ Project Manager in charge of the project, said.

“Having fully engineered units has notably improved the completion of the vessel construction – the installation was literally about plugging the ready-made units into the vessel hull.”

Entering service in 2021, Aurora Botnia will have the capacity to transport 800 passengers and up to 1,500 lane meters of trucks and cars, completing two round trips per day in high season.

Aurora Botnia will replace Wasa Express, which now operates between Vaasa and Umeå.

The shipbuilding project is valued at about $ 130.3 million.

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