Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Rotor Sails Return to the Oceans as New Service Agreement Signed

Old Technology Making a Strong Comeback
Shipping News Feature

FINLAND – Wärtsilä and Norsepower have signed a service cooperation agreement which will see Norsepower to order service work from Wärtsilä, while Wärtsilä can pursue and sell Norsepower Rotor Sail projects with support from Norsepower.

With the growth of Norsepower’s manufacturing capacity and the anticipated increasing demand for its Rotor Sails, the collaboration will help the organisation work at scale and further strengthen its customer service offering in cooperation with Wärtsilä’s global service network. The main target sectors include tankers, passenger ferries and cruise ships, as well as dry cargo vessels. Stefan Wiik, Vice President, Asset Management Services at Wärtsilä, said:

“The industry is transforming and we intend to be at the forefront of this change. We are really enthusiastic about this cooperation with Norsepower, which is a great example of our commitment to enabling sustainable societies with smart technology. We are now embarking on an exciting journey together, supporting and promoting sustainable technologies for a cleaner future.”

Since being launched in 2014, Norsepower Rotor Sails have been installed on three vessels, resulting in a reduction of their CO2 output by an estimated 5000 tonnes. A fourth installation is already planned for 2020. The size and number of Rotor Sails to be installed are tailored to match the vessel’s operating profile, and to provide a versatile and safe solution. Norsepower’s CSO, Jukka Kuuskoski, commented:

“Due to the rapid rise of demand for modern wind propulsion in shipping, Norsepower Rotor Sails are expected to be installed on multiple vessels in the near future.

“We are therefore delighted by this partnership and the ability it gives us to support our customers no matter where they are sailing and operating our technology. It also comes at a time where the global shipping industry is looking for proven and economical solutions to reduce their carbon foot print in general, and our Rotor Sail continues to be the most attractive, credible choice in wind-assisted propulsion.”

The Flettner Rotor system harks back to a period just under a century ago when Anton Flettner designed it after working for the German Ministry for War during the Great War, when he had first developed a steerable torpedo, shortly followed by a surface to air wire guided missile (his remotely controlled, autonomous car was junked as unfeasible), before going on to develop the sail system named after him and which remains much the same today.

Flettner’s career is one worth following, he continued war work for Germany into WWII designing helicopters for the military, passing under the protection of Heinrich Himmler, despite his Jewish wife until, as with his contemporary Wernher von Braun, he emigrated to the US, in his case to continue working on helicopters. He died in 1961.

Photo: Nothing changes. The Maersk Pelican fitted with the modern rotor design and, inset, the first Flettner rotored ship Buckau, constructed in 1924.