Viking Line's cruise ferry Viking Grace is already one of the most environmentally friendly vessels in the world. At the time of her launch in 2013 she was the world's first and only LNG-powered passenger vessel, and she was the first vessel of her type to fit the Climeon Ocean heat recovery system.
Now, Viking is partnering with wind propulsion firm Norsepower to fit a sophisticated rotor sail (Flettner rotor) to the Grace's top deck, which should further improve her fuel efficiency and reduce her environmental footprint. Norsepower expects that the sail will reduce the Grace’s LNG consumption by about 300 tonnes of fuel per year. A previous installation on the 10,000 dwt ro/ro Estraden demonstrated efficiency gains in the range of six percent – roughly comparable to the improvements from using the best available antifouling coatings.
In addition to fuel savings, Norsepower says that the Grace will add another world's first to her record: she will become the first ever "LNG/wind electric propulsion hybrid ship." Preparations for the retrofit are under way, and the installation is scheduled to take place during the second quarter of 2018.
Last year, Norsepower won the Electric and Hybrid Marine World Expo's "Innovation of the Year Award," and it was shortlisted for Lloyd's List's "Engineering Innovation Award." It also received $3 million in EU funding to build the world's largest rotor sails, which will maximize the fuel savings potential from a small amount of deck space. They will measure 100 feet tall by 15 feet wide, and will be suited for tankers, bulk carriers, large ro-pax, and full size passenger vessels where smaller rotor sails would be inefficient. With the right wind conditions, each 100-foot rotor sail will produce up to 5,000 horsepower-equivalent (4 MW) of forward thrust. The grant funds will also support manufacturing and testing of the firm's existing mid-size models, like the 80-foot sail that will be installed on the Grace.