JUNE 25, 2014 — Here’s one for the “what’s old is new again” file. Developed by Norsepower Oy Ltd, the Norsepower Rotor Sail auxiliary wind propulsion solution is described as “a completely new version of the Flettner rotor.”
The basic concept of the Flettner rotor has been around ever since German engineer Anton Flettner became the first person to build a ship propelled by utilizing the Magnus effect — a force acting on a spinning body in a moving airstream, which acts perpendicularly to the direction of the airstream. Delivered in October 1924, the rotor ship Buckau was a refitted schooner that carried two cylinders about 15 m high, and 3 m diameter, driven by an electric propulsion system. The Buckau made its first voyage in February 1925 across the North Sea to Scotland, with the rotors performing perfectly and in 1926 the vessel made a successful voyage to New York via South America. Other rotor ships followed the Buckau and seem to have operated successfully. The problem with the Flettner rotor was not that it didn’t work, but that it was eclipsed by the diesel engine.
The Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution uses new technology, advanced materials and a leading-edge control system to reduce cargo ship fuel consumption. When the wind conditions are favorable, Norsepower Rotor Sails allow the main engines to be throttled back, saving fuel and reducing emissions while providing the power needed to maintain speed and voyage time.
Norsepower rotor sails can be used with new vessels or they can be retrofitted to existing ships.
A prototype of the Norsepower Rotor Sail has been assembled at Norsepower’s test site in Naantali, Finland, and the land-based testing of the prototype has started. The prototype will be tested at sea on Bore’s M/V Estraden, a 9,700 dwt Ro-Ro, later this year.
“The Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution is appropriate for retrofitting to over 20 000 vessels in the global merchant fleet,” says Tuomas Riski, CEO and partner of Norsepower Oy Ltd confirms Norsepower aims at being the first company to have an industrially piloted and certified auxiliary wind propulsion product, which is delivered as a ready-made solution. The pilot project with Bore is a significant step on our path towards the market leadership of cargo vessel auxiliary wind propulsion systems”.
Håkan Modig, CEO of Bore Ltd states “Bore is in the forefront in using environmental and energy efficiency solutions for sustainable shipping. To pilot such a system on our vessel M/V Estraden is a natural step as we have supported the project from the start. Also, Bore is happy to encourage new entrepreneurs within this area in Finland and we are pleased to see that the project is ready for launch”.
Since its establishment in November 2012, Norsepower has gathered nearly $3 million USD of funding, which has enabled development, testing and piloting of the Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution. The main investors behind Norsepower are Lifeline Ventures Oy, Finnvera Oyj, and Wate Oy. Norsepower is also funded by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation.