Two Alconza electric motors for the RRS Sir David Attenborough, launched at Cammell Laird

Alconza strengthens its position as a manufacturer of low-noise electric propulsion motors for marine research vessels


Alconza has again positioned itself as a point of reference in the manufacture of electric propulsion motors for research vessels. This time it is two latest-generation 5,500 KW at 140 RPM motors incorporated into the RSS Sir David Attenborough, which was launched on 14 July in the British Cammel Laird shipyard. It will be sailing primarily in the waters of the Antarctic..

Marine research is the main task of the vessel, so it is essential for it to have silent, low-vibration motors in order to minimize the impact on the marine fauna and environment. In this respect it is worth noting that the two Alconza propulsion motors have a tandem configuration, they are directly connected to the propellers and they comply with the Det Norske Veritas (DNV) ‘Silent R’ standard.

The two electric propulsion motors are low speed so they do not need reduction gear and can operate from zero to 186 RPM. For its cooling system, Alconza has taken into account all the requirements on noise and vibroacoustics. These electric motors drive two Rolls-Royce propellers making up a propulsion package that has taken the ‘Polar Class 4’ technical requirements into account.

The low noise characteristics of the electric motors were decisive in the vessel’s compliance with the Lloyd’s Register (LR) Rules (CAC1), the most demanding in terms of structural noise and vibration. This compliance provides the crew with a high level of on-board comfort.

With its technological contribution to the RRS Sir David Attenborough, Alconza has demonstrated that it has the best technological and productive capacities to equip vessels of this type with solutions based on asynchronous motors with rigid mounting. This solution has many advantages over direct current motors on elastic support, which are normal in research vessels and make the propulsion package more complicated and more expensive.

As a first step to the delivery of the motors to the Cammell Laird shipyard, Alconza demonstrated the suitability of the technology used through Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT), in order to verify that the propulsion motors operate in accordance with the customer’s specifications.

RSS Sir David Attenborough is a research vessel that is owned by the Natural Environment Research Council of Great Britain. She will be operated by British Antarctic Survey, a body devoted to research in the Antarctic. It is 128 metres long and is considered one of the most advanced scientific ships in the world. She can sail for 60 days without refuelling and can break ice up to 1.5 metres thick.

The ship is capable of undertaking voyages of up to 19,000 nautical miles and being entirely self-sufficient in fuel and provisions, at the same time as optimizing the comfort and safety of the crew. Most of the passengers will be environmental scientists who will be carrying out their research on board the vessel. It therefore needs to have the best conditions of habitability and comfort, and Alconza’s technological input has made an outstanding contribution to this.

The name of the vessel is a tribute to the naturalist and scientific broadcaster David Attenborough, whose nature documentaries enjoy worldwide prestige because of their scientific rigour and their extraordinary audiovisual narrative, which is closely related to cinematography.

A 3 million euro investment for the design, development and manufacture of electric motors


Alconza has created two motors of 230kW and 160 kW for Irizar Group vehicles


Alconza invested 3 million euros to design, develop and manufacture the new advanced technology engines to be installed in the different electric vehicles for the Irizar Group, their parent company. To be precise they have created two electric motors of 230 kW and 160kW for the ‘Irizar ie’ range.

The most powerful motors will be installed in the 18 metre ‘ie buses' and ‘ie tram’ articulated coaches, while the 160kw motors will be installed in buses up to 12 metres long. The ‘ie truck’ lorries will have two 230 KW motors mounted, one for propulsion and the other to generate energy to charge the batteries.

The technological development and mass production of the motors used a little over two-thirds of the investment. Alconza carried out the entire manufacturing process, including: sheet plate cutting and packing, rotor and stator assembly, automatic lines for stator stalling in the frame and rotor axle, likewise the laboratory means for equipment testing. The rest of the investment will be used to install automatic winding line which will significatively increase production.

Alconza has diversified their solution offer with regard to urban electro-mobility, likewise their sales in the naval sector have increased, a segment where they are climbing positions among hydroelectric generators of up to 50 MVA. Their sales policy has enabled a boosting of exports, with a portfolio of orders for countries like: France, Italy, Norway, Chile, Georgia, Vietnam and Indonesia, among others.

Furthermore, Alconza continues to strengthen their position as an electric motor manufacturer, thanks to their mastery of permanent magnet technology, which enables them to offer a wide range of solutions for the naval, hydroelectric and industrial sectors.

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Alconza created the electric propulsion system for the first hybrid ship in the acquaculture sector

Launching of the Norwegian Gannet, which Alconza helped develop


Shipowners Hav Line Gruppen’s Norwegian Gannet, is the largest ship to be built by Balenciaga, the Gipuzkoan shipbuilders.
It will process and transport Salmon from Norway to Denmark


Alconza manufactured an electric propulsion system for the Norwegian Gannet, the first hybrid ship in the world dedicated to the aquaculture sector, moreover, it is the largest ship built at Astilleros Balenciaga (Zumaia, Gipuzkoa) to date. The participation of Alconza has meant yet another example of its commitment to advancing in environment friendly sustainable marine propulsion technologies. The ship will be used to process and transport salmon from the Norwegian coast fish farms.

The ship belongs to the Norwegian shipowners Hav Line Gruppen and will be delivered in August, since its construction is now in the final stage. The shipowners commissioned the engine design and manufacture from the Finnish company Wärtsilä, which will supply Astilleros Balenciaga with an integrated solution combining the 10 cylinder Wärtsilä 31 main diesel engine with the electric propulsion system manufactured by Alconza. Electric propulsion can provide excess power on demand, thereby reducing fuel consumption and also absorb engine load fluctuations. Besides being a highly efficient method it also minimises emissions.

The Norwegian Gannet is one of the most complete and sophisticated ships in the sector, besides being able to process 150,000 tons of salmon per year. Its headquarters is in Bergen, and it will transport fish from the Norwegian coast to Denmark three times a week. Ship transport will have a very positive environmental impact, since it will considerably reduce the emissions associated with the entire process. To be precise it will avoid sending 150 refrigerated lorries a week on the roads thereby achieving a carbon footprint reduction estimated at 7000 tons per annum. 

In addition to the design, Wärtsilä is responsible for manufacturing an integrated solution comprising: said 10 cylinder Wärtsilä 31 diesel engine, propulsion machinery, remote control propulsion and automation systems, likewise the Alconza electric propulsion system. The engine produces 6100 KW of power and has been designed to meet the customer’s requirements besides ensuring a functionally efficient and ecologically sustainable solution.

The ship hybrid propulsion machinery has a battery driven PTI/PTO (power take-in/ power take-off) system combined with the main diesel engine. Configuration of the ecologically sustainable hybrid battery is absolutely innovative for this kind of ship.

Norwegian Gannet is 94 metres long with an 18 metre beam; 10.30 metre moulded draft and weighing 4000 tons. Its interior has room for a crew of 53, most of whom will be dedicated to processing the salmon from the fish farm, which may reach a total of 1000 tons per voyage. Astilleros Balenciaga had to meet a high level of demand in its construction for both vessel dimensions and technological requirements.

The crew’s accommodation was one of the most important features when designing the ship and its work spaces pursuant to the high standards of quality Norwegian shipowners generally demands. One deck has a conference room chiefly designed to receive prospective customers and fish distributors. The ship has also been designed to meet EU sanitary requirements for fish processing.


Video of ship launching

Further information on the Norwegian Gannet at:

Noticias de Gipuzkoa Astilleros Balenciaga bota en Zumaia su mayor buque

Sector Marítimo: Balenciaga bota el Norwegian Gannet

Ground-breaking Wärtsilä design features the world’s first hybrid propulsion solution for fish farming industry

Alconza has manufactured two motors for the Norwegian icebreaker Kronprins Haakon

Photo: © Kronprins Haakon


The ship is dedicated to marine research so its thrusters maximise the reduction of noise and vibration

Alconza has designed and manufactured the two propulsion motors for the new icebreaker Kronprins Haakon; whose shipowners are the Norwegian Polar Institute, and is designed for marine research. The propulsion motors have a power of 5700 KW – 7650 HP, and among other characteristics, meet the standards established for E0, Class 3 Shipping (PC3: Polar Class 3) and CMF-V(3). With these motors, Alconza seeks the best mechanical features while offering the crew maximum comfort thanks to low noise and vibrations. Moreover, marine environment friendliness was not ignored when designing them, since a silent vessel with few vibrations has been achieved so as not to alter the marine biomass.

Maximum on board comfort is sought with the CMF-V(3) standard, so Alconza specialists paid maximum attention to the design and testing of each motor, thereby enabling them to guarantee the lower noise emissions and vibrations than usual for these motors with this performance level.

The low noise and vibration levels were achieved thanks to a rigid connection with the motor mount, a solution which simplified its assembly inside the ship, while at the same time facilitating calculation of the axis lines. Furthermore, it is a more economical solution than that of fitting the motor over elastic supports.

These motors also meet the E0 requisites, designed for ships whose machinery is not constantly attended; and as such, Alconza has provided the motors with reliability and monitorization at all times.

The Polar Class 3 refers to navigation all year long through ice in its second year of freezing, which may include pieces of ice that are several years old. To tackle these navigation conditions, Alconza engineers applied a special design criterion from the mechanical and thermal viewpoint of the motors.

All these characteristics together are designed to obtain a ship capable of carrying out its main purpose, i.e. research, in the best possible conditions. Alconza have paid special attention to ensure the scientists on board will not have their analyses or calculations affected by noise and vibrations from the propulsion system. Low vibrations are also beneficial for the marine biomass, since animals such as whales, will be unaffected by the ship travelling across the surface.



Another feature worth highlighting regarding the motors is their system of bearings, designed to work at very low revolutions per minute (RPM), thanks to the inclusion of a hydrostatic system. To increase the safety of the bearing system and ensure lubrication of the same, the corresponding emergency pumps were installed.

Lastly, Alconza was able to overcome the strict conditions established for the inclinations of both motors, so they can adjust to static inclinations of up to 15º and 22º in dynamic.

The entire technical specifications which the icebreaker motors meet are: DNV Certificated. DNV + 1A1, E0, RP, NAUT-OSV, CLEAN DESIGN, PC-3 ICEBREAKER, DAT (-35ºC), WINTERIZED BASIC, HELDK-SHF, DYNPOS-AUTS, COMF-V (3)/C (2) and DK (+).

The Kronprins Haakon ship was built at Fincantieri shipbuilders with headquarters in Trieste (Italy) for Rolls Royce Marine; and is equipped with the most avant-garde instrumentation in marine research and is designed to operate all year round in ice covered waters.

Teekay Tankers

Alconza supplies generators and motors for 4 state-of-the-art shuttle tanker vessels

In December it was announced that Teekay Tankers had placed a contract with the Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) yard for four shuttle tankers designed to be the most environmentally friendly shuttle tankers ever built.

Shuttle tankers load crude oil from offshore platforms working under dynamic positioning conditions, transport oil relatively short distances to land-based terminals, discharge the cargo and return to the platform.
Power systems will operate on a combination of liquefied natural gas (LNG), as a primary fuel, and volatile organic compounds (VOC) which is the environmentally harmful gas evaporating from the oil cargo tanks – as a secondary fuel. A recovery plant uses compression and cooling phases to liquefy the heavier hydrocarbons to liquid VOC (LVOC) that is stored in a tank on the deck of the vessel. The LNG and LVOC will be used in combination as the main power source for the Wärtsilä 34DF engines. Methane gas emerging from the crude oil cargo during loading or transit, referred to as surplus VOC, is burnt in a gas turbine for electricity generation.
34DF engines together with 5.5MW Alconza´s generators are the main power source for the full electrical system that energizes the vessel, a hybrid solution which includes 4x 3.8MW propulsion motors designed and manufactured by Alconza and Wärsilä batteries for peak load saving, and added overall system redundancy.
Compared with the current standard of shuttle tankers, the new design will improve fuel economy by 22%, reduce annual emissions of CO2 equivalents by up to 42%*, the reduction equals the emissions from 22.000 cars per vessel per year.
The elimination of VOC emissions to the atmosphere will eliminate 84% of NOx from the engine exhaust, practically eliminate SOx emissions, and reduce particles to less than 4%. (Storage and loading of crude oil onto ships are responsible for more than 50% of Norway’s VOC emissions)
One of the most critical systems on board of a Shuttle Tanker is the Dynamic Positioning System (DP2) that allows the vessel to maintain a fixed position despite external forces, such as wind, waves and current. To achieve that the computer automation system contains a mathematical model that includes information captured from a satellite-based GPS, wind sensors and gyrocompasses to detect positioning deviations, once the information is collected the control system ask for an instant response to the azimuth thrusters and tunnel thruster fabricated by Alconza in complete synchronization with the electric propulsion motors.
Wärtsilä´s Eniram performance management system concept is also included into the technical features of the ship, a data collection platform with the capability to optimize vessel´s operations providing analytics and reporting for a real-time decision making.


* From a typical North Sea platform installation, each crude oil loading of a cargo size of 850.000 bbls, will recover 100 tons of LVOC and 10 tons of SVOC. By avoiding these amounts of VOC escaping into the atmosphere, the yearly reduction of emission goes from 43.000 to 25.000 tons of CO2, i.e., a reduction of 42%, assuming around 32 loadings per year.

With an average of 100 tons of recovered LVOC per loading, the recovered amount could represent up to 30% the total fuel consumption of the Shuttle.