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Norsepower gets new funding for Rotor Sail development

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Two small Norsepower Rotor Sails have been installed on board Bore's M/S Estraden, a 9,700 dwt RO/RO carrier

AUGUST 25, 2016 — Finland’s Norsepower Oy Ltd. is to receive EUR 2.6 million (about $2.93 million) in funding to further its research and development of its Rotor Sail technology.

The funding is being awarded by the European Commission and Tekes, the Finnish Government’s funding agency for Innovation Norsepower will use it to optimize its Rotor Sail solution to deliver greater fuel savings and enhanced return on investment. It will develop new models of its technology that will include the world’s largest ever Flettner rotor.

Norsepower says the new Rotor Sail models will be ideally suited for tankers, bulk carriers, large ro-pax, and full size passenger vessels where smaller Rotor Sails would be inefficient for achieving the most impressive fuel savings.

The new models will be designed to be suitable for ships voyaging globally, including the Northern Hemisphere and Arctic regions that have not yet seen auxiliary wind propulsion despite having favorable wind conditions.

The record-breaking Rotor Sail model is planned to be 30 m in height and 5m in diameter, with a maximum main-engine equivalent power output of more than four megawatts (MW).

Funding from Tekes will also support the development and inclusion of multi-functional features within the system that may have otherwise not been possible, and will accelerate the new Rotor Sails’ time to market.

The European Commission funding, which Norsepower has been selected to receive from the EU under its Horizon 2020 Framework Program for Research and Innovation, will support manufacturing, assembling, land testing, fine tuning, and piloting of Norsepower’s medium-size (24 m in height x 4 m in diameter) Rotor Sail model.

Commenting on the funding, Tuomas Riski, CEO, Norsepower said: “We are extremely grateful to Tekes and to the European Commission. Their decisions are a clear vote of confidence in Norsepower’s ability to realize the commercial potential of our Rotor Sail Solution. We intend to use this recognition and the momentum we have now created to accelerate its development and create the world’s largest Rotor Sail capable of bigger emissions reductions and better fuel savings.”

The Norsepower Rotor Sail solution, which can be installed on new vessels or retrofitted on existing ships without off-hire costs, is a modernized version of the Flettner rotor; a spinning cylinder that uses the Magnus effect to harness wind power to generate forward thrust.

The solution is fully automated and senses whenever the wind is strong enough to deliver fuel savings, at which point the rotors start automatically.

According to Norsepower, to date, independent data analysis indicates that up to 25% fuel savings per year can be achieved on routes with favorable wind flows, large enough Rotor Sails, and appropriate service speed.

The technology has proven commercial applicability, with two small units of Norsepower’s Rotor Sails installed on board Bore’s M/S Estraden, a 9,700 dwt RO/RO carrier. Measured and independently verified by NAPA, the leading maritime data analysis, software and services provider, the Rotor Sail Solution delivered fuel consumption reductions of 6.1% for the Estraden.

Commenting on the technology, Jarkko Väinämö, CTO, Norsepower said: “Our Rotor Sails have the power to reinvent the existing market and make auxiliary wind propulsion a natural choice for merchant shipping. What is really exciting for us is the ability to leverage our existing knowledge and expertise to continue to offer an easy to use, hybrid propulsion solution that enables significant fuel savings and emissions reductions.”

The Rotor Sails are typically delivered as part of a full-service solution that includes both delivery and maintenance of the hardware and software components. The Rotor Sails are made using lightweight composite sandwich materials.

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