November 5, 2008
What's ahead for Lindenau rotor ship?
The future for Germany's Lindenau Werft, which declared insolvency some six weeks ago, is now looking brighter.
Insolvency administrator told workers this week that financing is in place for the completion of two double hulled tankers--one for German Tanker Shipping and one for the Seychelles. Prospects are also good for the yard to build an orange juice tanker for Switzerland's Atlanship.
Less certain, though, is what happens to the E-Ship 1, ordered by wind turbine manufacturer Enercon GmbH.
A large portion of the energy required to propel the 130 m ship will be supplied by four sailing rotors Ð large, rotating, vertical metal cylinders, 25 m tall. The vessel was launched at Lindenau in August but now remains alongside awaiting fitting out.
According to local press reports, work won't continue unless Enercon comes up with a substantially higher price, Its other option would be to have the E-Ship-1 completed. The rumor in German shipbuilding circles is that it may complete the ship at another German yard that has declared itself insolvent, Cassens-Werft in Emden.
Enercon plans to use the vessel to transport its turbines and components worldwide.
"The ship is an important element in our company's strategy of contributing to reducing CO2 emission through innovative renewable energy technologies," said Enercon founder Aloys Wobben when the ship was launched. "When is comes to replacing conventional energy production with renewable solutions, it is essential not to neglect the transport sector. We now have the opportunity to demonstrate that the use of sailing rotors in maritime transport can save a lot of fuel."
Rolf Rohden, project manager and chief development engineer in charge of the E-Ship described the vessel as "part of a sustainable overall concept which is not only based on reducing fuel consumption, but also places emphasis on environment-friendly treatment of exhaust gases, waste and ballast water, as well as more efficient methods of disposing of and avoiding waste."
Sailing rotors use a physical phenomenon first demonstrated in an experiment carried out in 1852 by German physicist, Heinrich Gustav Magnus. A spinning cylinder in a moving airstream creates a lateral force perpendicular to the direction of the airstream which, when used on ships, propels the ship forward. The German engineer and inventor,
Anton Flettner, first used this principle for ship propulsion at the beginning of the 1920s when he had an experimental vessel equipped with two large cylinder rotors built at Germania shipyards in Kiel. Though the "Buckau" successfully demonstrated that the rotors were efficient, the low cost of fuel at that time meant that shipowners were not too interested.