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  March 19th, 2017 | Written by

Testing Wind Propulsion Technology on Ocean Vessels

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  • The first installation of wind-powered energy technology on a product tanker vessel.
  • Wind technology expected to save 10 percent in fuel consumption on product tanker.
  • Wind technology could improve the future environmental impact of shipping.

Norsepower Oy Ltd., in partnership with Maersk Tankers, the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), and Shell Shipping & Maritime, will install and test Flettner rotor sails on board a Maersk
Tankers-owned vessel.

The project will be the first installation of wind-powered energy technology on a product tanker vessel, and will provide insights into fuel savings and operational experience. The rotor sails will be fitted during the first half of 2018, before undergoing testing and data analysis at sea until the end of 2019.

Maersk Tankers will supply a 109,647-deadweight tonne (DWT) Long Range 2 (LR2) product tanker vessel which will be retrofitted with two 30m tall by 5m diameter Norsepower Rotor Sails. Combined, these are expected to reduce average fuel consumption on typical global shipping routes by seven to ten percent. The project is majority funded by ETI.

“Together with our partners, we have the opportunity to deploy an innovative technology that can improve fuel efficiency on our LR2 product tanker vessels and help to reduce their environmental impact,” said Tommy Thomassen, Chief Technical Officer , Maersk Tankers. “We look forward to contributing to the project, and sharing our decades of experience and knowledge with in safety and tanker operations.”

“Flettner rotors have the potential to reduce ship fuel consumption substantially, especially on tankers and dry bulk carriers,” said Andrew Scott, program manager at ETI. “Demonstrating the technology in this project will make it more attractive to shipping companies and investors, and could play a significant role in reducing the fuel costs and improving the environmental impact of shipping in the future.”

The Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution is a modernized version of the Flettner rotor – a spinning cylinder that harnesses wind power to propel a ship. When wind conditions are favorable, the main engines can be throttled back, providing fuel cost savings and not impacting scheduling. Independent experts will analyze the data gathered from the project before publishing technical and operational insights, and performance studies.