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 fuel consumption of a retrofitted
propulsion system is 5% lower, and that of a newly built system 10% lower,
than conventional solutions. Equivalent annual fuel savings 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 propulsion technologies – the RudderPod units, CLT
propellers 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
The CLT propeller blades can be more loaded at the tip than those of
conventional propellers, which results in an improvement of the propulsion
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.
The three-year programme TRIPOD – “Triple Energy Saving by use of CRP, CLT and
Podded Propulsion” was implemented within the EU's Seventh Framework
Partners in the programme were VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
(Finland), ABB (Finland), Sistemar (Spain), Cehipar (Spain),
Cintranaval-Defcar (Spain) and A. P. Möller Maersk (Denmark).