Wind power - Maersk tanker fitted with rotor sails

As the quest for alternative power in shipping continues Maersk Tankers has gone back to the future installing two Norsepower rotor sails on a product tanker.

The two 30m tall, five metres in diameter rotor sails have been installed onboard the LR2 tanker Maersk Pelican in the port of Rotterdam.

The cylindrical mechanical sails that spin to create a pressure differential - called the Magnus effect - that propel the vessel forward, and will be used to provide auxillary power for the tanker reducing fuel consumption by 7 – 10%.The Norsepower rotor sail were installed as part of a project with Maersk Tankers, Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and Shell Shipping & Maritime.

“This project is breaking ground in the product tanker industry. While the industry has gone through decades of technological development, the use of wind propulsion technology onboard a product tanker vessel could take us to a new playing field. This new technology has the potential to help the industry be more cost-competitive as it moves cargoes around the world for customers and to reduce the environmental impact,” said Tommy Thomassen, chief technical officer, Maersk Tankers.

Read more: Norsepower founder Tuomas Riski wins Young Entrepreneur Award

The first voyage using the rotor sails will start shortly testing the effectiveness and financial viability of the sails. Lloyd’s Register’s (LR’s) Ship Performance will analyse performance data from the rotor sails during the test phase.

Tuomas Riski, ceo of Norsepower, said: “We have great ambitions for our technology and its role in decarbonising the shipping industry. The installation of our largest ever rotor sails in partnership with these industry leading organisations shows that there is an appetite to apply new technologies.”

The Maersk Pelican is the third, and largest, vessel to be fitted with rotor sails.

Posted 30 August 2018

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Marcus Hand

Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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