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Norsepower Rotor Sails delivered 8.2% fuel savings in year-long sea trials

Norsepower Oy Ltd., together with project partners Maersk Tankers, Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Ltd., announced successful trial results of two Norsepower Rotor Sails onboard the Maersk Tankers product tanker, Maersk Pelican.


The Rotor Sails are large, cylindrical mechanical sails that spin to create a pressure differential, the Magnus Effect, that propels the vessel forward (earlier post); in this instance a Maersk Tankers’ Long Range 2 (LR2) product tanker vessel.

The Rotor Sails deliver auxiliary wind propulsion to the vessel—which has operated in conditions ranging from tropical climate to arctic conditions in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Australia—thereby optimizing energy efficiency and reducing fuel consumption.

The Rotor Sails were installed onboard Maersk Pelican in August 2018. As part of the test, the aggregated total fuel saved from 1 September 2018 to 1 September 2019 was 8.2% savings. This is equivalent to approximately 1,400 tonnes of CO2. The savings were confirmed by comparing detailed performance information to a baseline established with full scale measurements and computational analysis done for the vessel prior the Rotor Sail installation.

Independent experts from Lloyd’s Register’s (LR’s) Ship Performance Group have analyzed and validated the performance data during the project to ensure an impartial assessment. In addition, technical and operational insights for performance studies will also be published.

Maersk Tankers and the industry have developed and tested a number of technological solutions, which contribute to reducing fuel consumption and associated emissions. We see wind technology as one of the technologies that can give us a real breakthrough in reducing CO2 and help us achieve our emission-reduction target of 30% by 2021. We will closely follow the development around the financial and commercial viability of the technology for potential future installations on some of our other larger vessels, while we have decided that Maersk Pelican will continue to sail with the Rotor Sails.

—Tommy Thomassen, Chief Technical Officer at Maersk Tankers

In a simulation model, Norsepower shows that the currently installed Rotor Sails operating in global average wind conditions of all shipping routes yield a savings potential up to 12% on fuel and emissions, including CO2. Based on the same simulation model, Norsepower estimates that applying Rotor Sail technology to the entire global tanker fleet would reduce annual CO2 emissions by more than 30 million metric tonnes, which corresponds to emissions of about 15 million passenger cars.

Norsepower’s Rotor Sail solution is the first data-verified and commercially operational auxiliary wind propulsion technology available for the global maritime industry. When wind conditions are favourable the main engines can be throttled back, saving fuel and reducing emissions, while maintaining speed and voyage time. Each Norsepower Rotor Sail is made using lightweight composite sandwich materials, which ensure the Rotor Sail remains well-balanced and offers a hi-tech, low maintenance solution.



The way I understand it this is basically like throwing a curve ball. I wonder if you put two such towers on opposite ends of a beam with a pivot point in the middle could get any rotation around the pivot point?


Seems o be a relatively low cost way to reduce fossil fuel usage, pollution and GHGs from large ships? Cleaner fuels may to the rest?


It is the Magnus effect, proven to work a long time ago.

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