Norsepower Debuts "Tiltable" Rotor Sail

Image courtesy Norsepower

Published Jun 29, 2020 1:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Flettner rotor manufacturer Norsepower has reached an agreement with North Sea ro-ro cargo vessel operator SEA-CARGO for the installation of two "tiltable" rotor sails. The 35-meter rotors will be hinged to enable them to tilt almost to a horizontal position when required by air draft restrictions.

The SC Connector, a 12,000 GT ro-ro cargo vessel, operates in the North Sea - a region with some of the most favorable wind conditions for Flettner rotor propulsion. Norsepower has analyzed the routes for the SC Connector and estimates that its technology would be able to achieve a carbon emissions reduction of 25 percent for the vessel. According to Ole Saevild, the managing director for SEA-CARGO, the sailing hybrid vessel will even maintain regular service speed by sail alone in the right wind conditions. 

However, the SC Connector's routes involve navigating under multiple bridges and powerlines, and the height of a full-size Flettner rotor would be prohibitive without a tilting function. Working together, Norsepower and SEA-CARGO developed a mechanism that allows them to tilt aft when needed. Preparations for the retrofit on the SC Connector are currently taking place, with the installation scheduled for the end of 2020.

“We are delighted to be working with SEA-CARGO, not only as they are keen to demonstrate their commitment to maximising the propulsive power of wind to reduce emissions, but also for their cooperation and innovation in making tilting Rotor Sails a realization," said Norsepower CEO Tuomas Riski. "Rotor Sails are particularly well suited to Ro-Ro vessels and working with SEA-CARGO to deliver a tilting Rotor Sail ensures we are providing an adaptable solution which fits with particular vessel requirements.

Norsepower's rotor sails are fully automated and detect whenever the wind is strong enough to deliver fuel and emission savings, at which point the rotors start automatically. They have been installed aboard a small number of vessels belonging to prominent commercial customers, including Maersk Tankers and Viking Line