The project will be the first installation of wind-powered energy technology on a product tanker and will provide insights into fuel savings and operational experience. The rotor sails will be fitted during the first half of 2018, before undergoing testing and data analysis at sea until the end of 2019.
Maersk Tankers LR2 will be retrofitted with two 30 m tall by 5 m diameter Norsepower rotor sails. Combined, these are expected to reduce average fuel consumption on typical global shipping routes by 7-10%.
The project is majority funded by the UK’s Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) with contributions from Maersk Tankers and Norsepower. Shell will act as project co-ordinator, and provide operational and terminal/port consultancy to the project team, while Maersk Tankers will provide technical and operational insight.
Commenting on the partnership, Tuomas Riski, CEO, Norsepower, said: “We are privileged and excited to be collaborating with Maersk Tankers, Shell, and the ETI on this project. We are optimistic that support for this trial from these industry leading organisations will open up the market for our technology to a larger number of long-range product tanker vessels – paving the way for ship fuel efficiencies, and ultimately reducing emissions, including greenhouse gases.
“As an abundant and free renewable energy, wind power has a role to play in supporting the shipping industry to reduce its fuel consumption and meet impending carbon reduction targets,” he said.
Tommy Thomassen, Maersk Tankers CTO, explained: “Together with our partners, we have the opportunity to deploy an innovative technology that can improve fuel efficiency on our LR2 product tanker vessels and help to reduce their environmental impact. We look forward to contributing to the project, and sharing our decades of experience and knowledge within safety and tanker operations.”
Karrie Trauth, general manager, technology & innovation, Shell Shipping & Maritime, commented: “At Shell, we believe that innovation and technology are key elements to improving the efficiency and environmental performance of shipping operations. We look forward to using our shipping and technical expertise to support this trial.”
Andrew Scott, programme manager HDV marine and offshore renewable energy, The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), added: “Flettner rotors have the potential to reduce ship fuel consumption substantially, especially on tankers and drybulk carriers. It is one of the few fuel saving technologies that could offer double digit percentage improvements.
“To date, there has been insufficient full scale demonstration on a suitable ocean going vessel to prove the technology benefits and operational impact. Demonstrating the technology in this project will make it more attractive to shipping companies and investors, and could play a significant role in reducing the fuel costs and improving the environmental impact of shipping in the future,” he said.
Norsepower’s rotor sail solution is a new version of the Flettner rotor – a spinning cylinder that uses the Magnus effect to harness wind power to propel a ship. Each rotor sail is constructed using the latest lightweight composite sandwich materials, and offers a simple yet robust hi-tech solution.
When wind conditions are favourable, the main engines can be slowed, providing a net fuel cost and emission savings, while not impacting scheduling. Independent experts will analyse the data gathered from the project before publishing technical and operational insights, and performance studies.