HELSINKI, Finland (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — Commercial tankers using sail power to navigate the seas could be the wave of the future. Tests are scheduled to get underway in 2018 to confirm whether wind propulsion technology provides projected fuel savings. The results could well determine whether sail technology would be used in tanker vessels.
Norsepower Oy Ltd, a Finnish engineering and technology company in partnership with Maersk Tankers, The Energy Technologies Institute and Shell Shipping & Maritime, announced in March the installation and testing of Flettner rotor sails onboard a Maersk Tankers vessel.
Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower, said in a release: “As an abundant and free renewable energy, wind power has a role to play in supporting the shipping industry to reduce its fuel consumption and meet impending carbon reduction targets.”
The project, which will be the first installation of wind-powered energy technology on a product tanker vessel, would 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 ton Long Range 2 product tanker, which will be retrofitted with two 98 feet tall by 16 feet in diameter Norsepower Rotor Sails. The design would look like narrow smoke stacks. Combined, these are expected to reduce average fuel consumption on typical global shipping routes by 7-10 percent.
The Norsepower Rotor Sail is a modernized version of the Flettner rotor — a spinning cylinder using the Magnus effect to harness wind power to propel a ship. Each Rotor Sail is made using the latest intelligent lightweight composite sandwich materials. When wind conditions are favorable, the main engines can be throttled back, providing a net fuel cost and emission savings, while not impacting scheduling.
Independent experts will analyze the data gathered from the project before publishing technical and operational insights, and performance studies.