Developing Wind Propulsion for Dry Bulk Carriers

exploring wind propulsion for dry bulk carriers
Concept of how the rotors would look installed and deployed (Oldendorff)

Published Jan 27, 2021 5:41 PM by The Maritime Executive

Oldendorff Carriers, one of the world’s leading dry bulk lines, announced that it will participate in a joint development project to design and test wind-assisted propulsion technology for its dry bulk carriers. The project, scheduled for completion in 2022, is designed to break down significant barriers for the installation of rotor sails technology and pave the path for commercial-ready applications across the industry.

During the joint development project, Oldendorff which owns more than 100 vessels and with charters on average operates approximately 700 vessels will work with Anemoi Marine Technologies which has patented vertical rotors. Lloyd’s Register and Shanghai Merchant Ship Design and Research Institute will also participate in the project to develop a wind-assisted propulsion solution for dry bulk carriers. 

“This JDP, together with other ongoing projects in our company, is a testament to our commitment to the development and application of green technologies across our fleet,” says Torsten Barenthin, Director Innovation of Oldendorff Carriers. “By partnering with the ship designer (SDARI), manufacturer (Anemoi), and Classification Society (LR), OC seeks to achieve a comprehensive functional application of wind technology that returns environmental and commercial benefits throughout our vessels’ entire life cycle.”


Rotors folded down to permit docking and loading of the bulk carrier (Oldendorff)


The project focuses on developing the designs of Anemoi’s vertical rotors, which serve as mechanical sails, on the deck of an Oldendorff vessel. When driven to rotate, the rotors harness the power of the wind to provide additional thrust to vessels, reducing fuel consumption. To ensure the rotors do not interfere with cargo operations and air draft limitations, the sails are mounted with a folding system that enables them to be lowered from vertical into a horizontal position on deck 

Once the design and study phases have been concluded, the results obtained will determine whether Oldendorff will proceed with the installation of the wind rotor technology aboard one of its vessels. By fitting vertical rotors on a 207,000 dwt Newcastlemax bulk carrier, wind propulsion would be tested on long haul voyages. 

The rotor sails technology is a complementary solution suitable for combination with other green developments. Last year. Oldendorff also signed an agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Bits & Atoms to investigate disruptive improvements in ship design and propulsion to achieve the IMO 2030/50 goals.

Concept of the deployment of the rotors (Anemoi)