On Thursday, the trade show Nor-Shipping announced that Tuomas Riski, CEO of Flettner rotor manufacturer Norsepower, has been awarded its "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" award for 2017.
“Tuomas and Norsepower encapsulate the very essence of this award,” said Nor-Shipping Director Birgit Liodden. “Their technology is a potential game-changer for an industry facing increasing cost and environmental constraints. As such it has the potential to not only drive forward single vessels, but also our entire industry’s sustainability credentials."
Other finalists for the award included Joel Spark, co-founder of Spire; Patrik Berglund, CEO of Xeneta; and Christine Spiten, co-founder of Blueye Robotics.
The jury selection was led by YoungShip, a non-profit organisation for young people working in the maritime industry. “This year we had some amazing shortlisted contenders, who I am sure will all go on to achieve great things in our industry," Richard Hayfield, Youngship's secretary general. “Tuomas deserves special praise for utilising the Flettner technology concept, which is not new, but its successful commercialisation certainly is."
Norsepower recently reached an agreement with Maersk Tankers, the UK's Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and Shell to install two Flettner rotors on an LR2 product tanker. ETI will fund the project and Shell will coordinate it, and the resulting data will be used for a real-world performance study. In a statement, ETI program manager Andrew Scott described the Norsepower system as "one of the few fuel-saving technologies that could offer double digit percentage improvements.” (The company suggests that its rotors could contribute to fuel savings of up to 20 percent, with multiple rotors and optimum wind conditions.)
The firm has already won several other awards for its technology, including Fathom Marine Intelligence's Energy Efficiency Solution Award and the Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards’ Innovation of the Year. Its research and development efforts are funded by the European Commission and the Finnish innovation fund Tekes.
YoungShip's Hayfield suggested that Norsepower’s combination of high technology and industry partnerships led the jury to select Riski for the award. "Norsepower has shown both ingenuity and determination to refine the solution, build confidence and understanding of it in the notoriously tough shipping market, and finally combine both public and private finance to realise its potential," he said.
Nor-Shipping, to be held in Oslo from May 30 to June 2, is expected to attract up to 35,000 visitors and 1,000 companies from all corners of the maritime industry. Niski and the other finalists for the award will be showcasing their firms' technologies at the conference.