Generational Efficiency Breakthroughs...

Big efficiency gains remain available in all kinds of technologies, but Volvo’s
30% fuel efficiency gain is remarkable. Volvo did this by “thinking different” at the system level and created many additional advantages including maneuverability, speed and quietness.

Volvo Penta’s new
IPS (Inboard Power System) marine engines get an Efficiency Technology of the Year award - the story is remarkable.
...are a generational breakthrough in efficiency vs. standard engine & propeller combinations.

Seeking breakthrough performance in several areas, Volvo-Penta re-invented the entire propulsion system from engine to control system - “thinking different” at the system level instead of attempting incremental improvements in one area. It adapts features of the
“Azipod” system used on new cruise ships, but with an integrated engine and counter-rotating propellers.

1 It turned the propellers around so they pull instead of push the boat.
2 Volvo then attached two props., to each drive-shaft rotating in opposite directions. The counter-rotation smooths flow and makes directional control easier.
3 Volvo then integrated the propellers into a steerable drive “pod” eliminating the need for rudders.
4 A computer-controlled joystick allows the boat to turn 360 degrees in its own length and move sideways. (
Very cool - check the video)

As a result the system offers multiple advantages.
  • 20% higher top speed
  • 15% faster acceleration
  • 30% reduced fuel consumption
  • 50% lower perceived sound level

This is a terrific example of system-level thinking that re-invents high-speed propulsions systems. We expect these expand beyond the pleasure market and will find their way into commercial fishing and passenger boats soon.
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