Rolls-Royce debuts permanent-magnet azimuth thruster

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Michael Jones

 03 June 2015

Rolls-Royce unveiled at Nor-shipping on 3 June an azimuth thruster featuring permanent-magnet (PM) technology.

The group's PM technology portfolio includes tunnel thrusters and a newly developed winch.

Sea trials to evaluate the new thruster's energy-saving potential took place on board Trondheim-based Gunnerus, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU's) research ship.

During trials the pair of thrusters installed on the vessel demonstrated efficiency savings of 7-13% depending on ship speed, outperforming azimuth thrusters powered by a conventional diesel-electric system.

"Following a programme of successful sea trials, which exceed our expectations in terms of efficiency, we are delighted to broaden our range of permanent-magnet technology with the launch of a new azimuth thruster," said Helge Gjerde, Rolls-Royce senior vice-president for propulsion - commercial marine.

"The sea trials are continuing but initial findings have significant implications for future ship sustainability in both the marine and offshore sectors as PM thrusters become a valuable supplement to traditional thruster technology."

Other benefits include more power through a propeller of the same diameter, reduced noise and vibration, and scope to remove and maintain PM thrusters without dry-docking.