ABB is targeting the emerging polar market

Marcus Högblom and Jukka Varis outline how ABB Marine’s technology will power the first of Crystal Cruises’ new Exclusive Class vessels during a conversation with Michele Witthaus

ABB is targeting the emerging polar market
This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2016 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

Power and automation group ABB is focused on two main cruise line projects: providing full power systems on the first of Crystal Cruises’ Exclusive Class vessels, and delivering Azipod propulsion for Scenic Cruises’ new ‘discovery yacht’ Scenic Eclipse, which is under construction at Croatia’s Uljanik shipyard.

ABB will supply two specially modified Azipod XO units for the first Crystal newbuild, which will operate in polar waters. One of the systems will be adapted to operate in ice-going conditions to help the company implement the requirements of the Polar Code.

“It is an interesting pod as it has to be stronger to take ice loads,” notes Marcus Högblom, vice president of Passenger Ships and Azipod at ABB Marine. “It also needs to be very efficient. The shape is different, closer to the original Azipod look but reinforced on the inside, made according to class rules. It is a little more expensive as it needs to be made of stainless steel.”

Jukka Varis, ABB Marine’s vice president of Technology and Business Development, adds that ABB also has to take environmental conditions into account. “The pods are similar to those used on cruise vessels, but they are unique because they will be capable of ice operation so Crystal’s newbuild can sail in polar areas within class restrictions,” he remarks. “We have been very competitive on cruise and ice-going vessels and have been able to combine our knowledge in these areas.”

In addition to the modified pods, ABB has signed contracts to supply Crystal’s first ship with a system that includes power plant and automation, says Högblom. “We are very proud of this,” he explains. “As a result of the Crystal contract, we have Lloyd Werft as a new customer, as the company is building the new vessel. Plus, Crystal Cruises’ owner Genting Hong Kong is an existing ABB customer.”

Crystal’s first ship will also feature ABB’s 800xA automation system, with EMMA Energy Management System and fleet management suite. ABB EMMA system is being installed onboard to monitor power consumption and make the ship more energy-efficient, says Högblom.

Another new development at ABB, launched at Seatrade Cruise Global in March, is the Dynamic AC (DAC) concept, which optimises engine speed to yield significant fuel savings. According to Högblom, DAC provides a way of operating power plant differently. “It is innovative because the power plant allows the frequency to float in a pre-designed manner, making it possible to operate the engines in a more efficient manner,” he says. “By finding the ‘sweet spot’ for fuel consumption, the system generates savings of up to 6% at a typical speed for a cruise vessel.”

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Michele Witthaus
By Michele Witthaus
Friday, December 2, 2016