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Big oil firms back Norsepower’s rotor sail solution for ships

The oil majors-backed Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) has led an EUR8m ($8.8m) investment in Norsepower for the Finnish company to scale up its production of wind energy propulsion systems for ships.

Norsepower said the latest investment will allow it to boost its manufacturing facilities as part a next phase of commercialisation triggered by demand for renewable wind energy propulsion systems at a time when international shipping looks to offset expensive fuel costs.

Global shipping is facing the upcoming IMO 2020 fuel sulphur cap before the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets in 2030 and 2050.

Tuomas Riski, ceo of Norsepower, said: “We are very excited to be partnering with OGCI Climate Investments on this initiative, which will leverage the expertise and capabilities of both organisations to scale our Rotor Sail Solution. Importantly, this partnership will also allow Norsepower to deliver cleaner solutions for the oil tanker market as it strives to increase sustainability and decarbonise in its role as a critical vehicle for the world economy.”

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 to propel a ship. The solution is fully automated and senses whenever the wind is strong enough to deliver fuel savings, at which point the rotors start automatically – optimising crew time and resource.

To date, Norsepower’s Rotor Sails have been installed onboard three vessels, including Bore’s Estraden, a 9,700-dwt roro carrier, Viking Line Viking Grace, an LNG–fuelled cruise ferry, and Maersk Tanker’s 110,000-dwt Maersk Pelican.

Norsepower has also recently started delivery project of a Rotor Sail to a hybrid ferry owned by Danish shipping company Scandlines.

Pratima Rangarajan, ceo of OGCI Climate Investments, said: “Improving energy efficiency is fundamental to reducing carbon emissions. We look forward to working with Norsepower to deliver real impact to the shipping sector’s CO2 emissions.”

Read more: New coalition to push for zero carbon emission shipping by 2030

The decarbonisation of the shipping industry is now an ambitious movement led by the newly created Getting to Zero Coalition, announced at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York on Monday. The aim is to achieve the goal of operating zero emission vessels along deepsea trade routes by 2030.