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Funding push for wind propulsion


Wind propulsion systems provider Norsepower Oy is to receive €2.6 million in funding from the European Commission and the Finnish Government’s funding agency for Innovation. The money will be used to research fuel saving and develop the Norsepower rotor sail solution technology.

The new rotor sail models will be suited for tankers, bulk carriers, large ro-pax, and full size passenger vessels where smaller sails would be inefficient to save sufficient levels of fuel. The rotor sail model will be 30m in height and 5m in diameter, with a maximum main-engine equivalent power output of more than four megawatts. They are designed for global operation, including in areas such as the Northern Hemisphere and Arctic regions that have not yet seen auxiliary wind propulsion, despite having favourable wind conditions.

“Our rotor sails have the power to reinvent the existing market and make auxiliary wind propulsion a natural choice for merchant shipping,” says Jarkko Väinämö, CTO, Norsepower.

The Norsepower rotor sail solution, which can be installed on new vessels or retrofitted on existing ships without off-hire costs, is a modernised version of the Flettner rotor; a spinning cylinder that uses the Magnus effect to harness wind power to generate forward thrust. The solution is fully automated and senses whenever the wind is strong enough to deliver fuel savings, at which point the rotors start automatically.

To date, independent data analysis indicates that up to 25% fuel savings per year can be achieved on routes with favourable wind flows, sufficient sized rotor sails, and appropriate service speed.

The Norsepower sail technology has proven commercial applicability, with two small units installed on board Bore’s M/S Estraden, a 9,700dwt ro-ro carrier. Measured and independently verified by maritime data analyst NAPA, the rotor sail solution delivered fuel consumption reductions of 6.1% for the Estraden.