Wärtsilä has signed an agreement that will enable it to integrate patented gate rudders into its propulsion product designs. Unlike the traditional arrangement of the rudder in the propeller slipstream, the gate rudder is a twin arrangement around the propeller, allowing improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. The concept is applicable to all current vessels equipped with conventional propellers.
By offering gate rudders as an integral part of its propulsion offerings for newbuild vessels, says Wärtsilä, compliance with the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) will be facilitated. The technology is available for both newbuild and existing vessels. As an integral part of the design, the rudder will realize synergies in capital and operational savings for ship owners by increasing fuel efficiency, improving maneuverability and course stability in both calm and rough sea conditions, while also reducing noise and vibration.
Wärtsilä will offer the technology under a license and cooperation agreement signed with Japan’s Kuribayashi Steamship Co. with the consent of all joint Japanese patent holders. In addition to Kuribayashi Steamship Co, the other patent holders are Kamome Propeller, the National Institute of Maritime, Port and Aviation Technology (NIMPAT, Japan), Yamanaka Shipbuilding, and Professor Noriyuki Sasaki.
Wärtsilä intends to fully integrate gate rudders within its propulsion product designs and focus on global markets outside Japan.
This new collaborative partnership will accelerate the deployment of gate rudder systems across all vessel classes. By combining Wärtsilä’s propulsion and machinery integration expertise with the Japanese patent holders’ gate rudder technology and know-how, the new technology will become accessible throughout the marine sector, with ship owners benefiting from the technology concepts.
Speaking on the agreement, Lars Anderson, Director, Propulsion, Wärtsilä Marine, said: “At Wärtsilä we are doing our outmost to support our customers as they look for new technologies to reduce operating costs and improve the environmental sustainability of their operations. We see great potential in this gate rudder technology collaboration. Today’s agreement enables us to support the building of better and more sustainable vessels already today, and Kuribayashi Steamship and the Japanese patent holders are the ideal partners to help us realize this goal.”
Sadatomo Kuribayashi, Chairman of Kuribayashi Steamship Co. Ltd., added: “Today’s agreement with Wärtsilä is a major step forward in introducing gate rudder technology to the global market, and it helps the shipping industry’s initiatives for sustainable shipping and reduced operating costs. An innovative approach has been taken in creating this new solution for the maritime industry. The first evaluations of vessel performance on Japanese coastal vessels have shown a significant improvement in efficiency and maneuverability. We see Wärtsilä, with a strong global presence, and sharing the same commitment for developing cleaner, more sustainable, and efficient marine shipping, as being the ideal partner.”