Vale and Anemoi to Install Rotor Sails on World's Largest Ore Carrier

wind rotors on ore carrier
400,000 dwt ore carrier will become the world's largest wind power installation (Anemoi)

Published Nov 8, 2023 1:35 PM by The Maritime Executive


Vale, the Brazilian mining company and one of the largest charters of dry bulk carriers, is continuing to move ahead with its efforts to use wind-assisted propulsion to decrease fuel consumption on its fleet. In the latest step, Vale working with rotor company Anemoi will install the technology on the world’s largest ore carrier in effect creating the largest ever wind propulsion installation.

The agreement between Vale and Anemoi will see five rotor sails installed on the Sohar Max, a 400,000 dwt ore carrier owned by Asyad of Oman and operating under a long-term charter to Vale. Built in 2012, the vessel which is registered in the Marshall Islands is 1,181 feet in length. Each of the rotors will be approximately 115 feet in height with a diameter of 16.4 feet. They will be capable of folding down from the vertical position to reduce the impact on the vessel’s air draft and cargo handling capabilities. The installation is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2024.

Due to the large size and relatively slow speed of the giant bulkers, they are well suited to wind propulsion technology. In addition, Anemoi highlights that the Valemax class of vessels typically trade on deep-sea routes between Brazil, China, and the Middle East, which are also well-suited for wind propulsion. The vertical cylinders harness the renewable power of the wind to provide additional forward thrust and improve the energy efficiency of the vessel. The installation of Anemoi Rotor Sails is expected to reduce fuel consumption by six percent and cut equivalent CO2 emissions by up to 3,000 tons per ship per year on the Valemax class vessels.


The rotor sails fold down to reduce impact on air draft and cargo handling (Anemoi)


Vale has been studying for the past few years the potential of wind-assisted propulsion for its vessels. They deployed the first test of the rotor sail technology in 2021 aboard the 325,000 dwt Sea Zhoushan owned by Pan Ocean Ship Management. The vessel was also fitted with five rotor sails which in that installation were built by Norsepower. 

Earlier this year, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines announced plans to fit two rotor sails aboard an existing 200,000 dwt bulker. The installation is expected in the first half of 2024 on the vessel which also operates under charter to Vale. MOL and Vale have been studying rotor sail installations in a joint project that started in November 2021.

The new installation project involves SDARI (Shanghai Ship Design and Research Institute) and Lloyd’s Register as the classification society for the Sohar Max. Both organizations will work with Anemoi on the designs for the installation. Anemoi highlights that it has also established its supply chain in China partnering with CSSC Chengxi (China State Shipbuilding Corporation), Lianyungang Zhongfu Lianzhong Composite Material Group Co., CRRC Corporation, and SaierNico Electric & Automation. Anemoi will also support the installation on the Valemax vessel with a full array of technical services both pre- and post- delivery including the vessel integration design, support with plan approval, project management and onsite supervision, onboard training, and after-sales services.

Bulkers have been among the first vessels to deploy rotors and other forms of wind-assisted propulsion. Anemoi in June 2023 completed the installation of three rotors on a Tufton-owned bulker TR Lady (82,000 dwt). The vessel operates under charter to Cargill, another large charter of dry bulk carriers.  

Other projects have installed the first rotors on large crude oil tankers. Anemoi also recently reported it was launching a study to explore installing rotors of large gas carriers.