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Monday, June 29, 2020 

Finnish auxiliary wind propulsion company Norsepower is to install two of its largest Rotor Sails, with tilting mechanism, on a ro-ro vessel operated by Sea-Cargo.

The twin 35m Rotor Sails will be installed on the SC Connector, a 12,251gt sidedoor ro-ro. These will be the first tiltable Rotor Sails, which Norsepower says was a particular requirement as the vessel has to navigate under bridges and power lines, and showcases the innovative design adaptations that can be made for individual vessel requirements.

The North Sea is said to offer favourable wind conditions for Rotor Sails, but as SC Connector’s normal routes involve navigating under multiple bridges and powerlines, any tall deck fitments are required to have a tilting function. Working in tandem, Norsepower and Sea-Cargo combined their expertise to adapt the 35m high and 5m wide Rotor Sails to enable them to tilt to almost horizontal when required.

The Rotor Sail - which can be installed on new vessels or retrofitted on existing ships - is a modernised version of the Flettner rotor, a spinning cylinder that uses the Magnus effect to harness wind power to provide forward thrust. Preparations for the retrofit on the SC Connector are currently taking place with the installation scheduled for Q4 2020.

According to Norsepower, growing international and public pressure on the maritime industry to move towards decarbonisation means that harnessing the wind to generate thrust, reduce fuel consumption and emissions is a natural next step for maritime transport. Norsepower has analysed the routes for the SC Connector and estimates that its technology would be able to achieve a carbon emissions reduction of 25% for this vessel.

Tuomas Riski, CEO Norsepower, said: “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 realisation. 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, specifically demonstrating vessels with height restrictions to benefit from the Rotor Sail solution.”

Ole Sævild, MD Sea-Cargo, said: “With a growing international focus on reducing CO2 emissions and other gases/particles, the ability to harness wind to generate energy, reduce fuel consumption and emissions is a natural next step for the maritime transport industry. The goal of this project has been to design more environmentally friendly vessels by combining several existing technologies. In good wind conditions, the sailing hybrid vessel will maintain regular service speed by sail alone.”

The Norsepower Rotor Sail is said to be the first third-party verified and commercially operational auxiliary wind propulsion technology for the maritime industry. The solution is fully automated and detects whenever the wind is strong enough to deliver fuel and emission savings, at which point the Rotor Sails start automatically.

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