Friday, November 16, 2018
Maritime Propulsion

August 30, 2018

Rotor Sails Installed on Maersk Oil Tanker

  • Two 30- x 5-meter Norsepower Rotor Sails installed on board the Maersk Pelican
  • Two 30- x 5-meter Norsepower Rotor Sails installed on board the Maersk Pelican

A Maersk product tanker has become the third commercially operating vessel to be equipped with Norsepower Rotor Sail auxiliary wind propulsion technology.

Two Rotor Sails have been installed on board the 109,647- DWT Long Range 2 (LR2) product tanker Maersk Pelican in the Port of Rotterdam, announced project partners Norsepower Oy Ltd., Maersk Tankers, Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and Shell Shipping & Maritime. The ship is expected to commence its first voyage with its new sails shortly.

At 30 meters tall by five meters, the Rotor Sails aboard Maersk Pelican are the largest in the world. The cylindrical mechanical sails spin to create a pressure differential – called the Magnus effect – that propels the vessel forward. The Rotor Sails will provide auxiliary wind propulsion, optimizing fuel efficiency by reducing fuel consumption and associated emissions by an expected 7-10 percent on typical global shipping routes, Norsepower said.

When wind conditions are favorable 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.

Tuomas Riski, CEO, Norsepower, added, “We have great ambitions for our technology and its role in decarbonizing the shipping industry. The installation of our largest ever Rotor Sails in partnership with these industry leading organizations shows that there is an appetite to apply new technologies.”

“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,” said Tommy Thomassen, Chief Technical Officer, Maersk Tankers. “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.”

Andrew Scott, Program Manager HDV marine and offshore renewable energy, ETI, explained, “We commissioned this project to provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate the untapped potential of Rotor Sails. Auxiliary wind propulsion is one of the few fuel-saving technologies that is expected to offer double-digit percentage improvements. The technology is projected to be particularly suitable for tankers and dry bulk carriers, and this test will assist in determining the further potential for Rotor Sails in the product tanker industry.”

Riski noted, “With this installation on the Maersk Pelican, there are now three vessels in daily commercial operation using Norsepower’s Rotor Sails.” Other vessels currently operating with Rotor Sails installed include Estraden, a Bore vessel offering a Ro-Ro and General Cargo service between the U.K. and the Belgium, and Viking Grace, a Viking Line cruise-ferry travelling between Finland and Sweden.

“Each of these cases represents a very different vessel type and operational profile, demonstrating the widespread opportunity to harness the wind through Flettner rotors across the maritime industry,” Riski said.

Maersk Pelican’s Rotor Sails, which have already undergone rigorous land trials, including thorough testing of various mechanical and performance criteria, are the first Rotor Sails to be Class approved for use on a product tanker vessel.

An extensive measurement and evaluation program will aim to test the long-term financial and technical viability of the technology. Independent experts from Lloyd’s Register’s (LR’s) Ship Performance team will acquire and analyze the performance data during the test phase to ensure an impartial assessment before technical and operational insights as well as performance studies are published.

Dr. Grahaeme Henderson, Vice-President, Shell Shipping & Maritime, said, “The shipping industry faces a major challenge in how it can economically ship the increasing amounts of goods and energy the world demands, whilst lowering its environmental impact. We see significant advantages in embracing, testing and driving innovative technologies that we believe show real promise in helping the shipping industry meet this challenge.”

BelgiumenergyEnergy Technologies Institute