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Japanese Expand Wind Propulsion Tests with First Rotor on Coal Carrier

wind rotor on coal carrier
Rendering of the planned wind rotor installation in 2024 on the companies coal carrier (IINO/J-Power)

Published Jul 6, 2023 4:12 PM by The Maritime Executive

Japan’s IINO Lines and electric power company J-Power are continuing their exploration of wind-assisted propulsion announcing a joint effort with Finland’s Norsepower to retrofit a wind rotor aboard a large coal carrier. According to the companies, this will be the first time a coal carrier has been fitted with a wind rotor. Each of the Japanese companies has previously announced plans to test wind-assisted propulsion on some of their vessels.

Under the new agreement, Norsepower will develop a wind rotor that will stand approximately 79 feet off the deck and will have a 13-foot diameter. The modernized version of the Flettner rotor will use the vessel’s electric power to rotate and generate wind thrust. The companies project that the vessel will realize a six to ten percent saving in fuel consumption and the resulting emissions.

The retrofit will be undertaken on the Yodohime, a large bulker built in 2016, and transporting coal for the electric utility. The vessel, which is 751 feet long, is 85,000 dwt. She is used to carry coal from Australia to Japan. The retrofit is scheduled for the third quarter of 2024.

This will be IINO’s second project involving a Norsepower rotor. In March, the companies announced plans to install two specially designed rotors aboard a newly built very large car carrier. The Oceanus Aurora (62,500 dwt) was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and delivered to IINO in March 2023. The LPG dual-fuel gas carrier had the foundations for the rotors installed during construction. In the second quarter of 2024, they plan to add two 66-foot tall and 13-foot diameter rotors side-by-side on the ship. They have estimated that the VLGC will reduce fuel consumption by approximately four percent by employing the rotors.

J-Power working with Japan’s K-Line is also exploring different forms of wind-assisted propulsion for its ships. They agreed in March 2023 to install an automated kite system using wind power known as the Seawing onboard the coal carrier Corona Citrus. The vessel which is 88,700 dwt was built in 2019 and also operates between Australia and Japan transporting coal. The ship is 751 feet long and will be fitted with the sail in 2024.