Rotor Sail Solutions : Making World Seaborne Trade Green

The shipping industry is in turmoil like never before.

Sulfur caps, Recycling regulations, Cyber attacks and data theft, Safety, Changing trade patterns, Shifting global economies and, of course, decarbonization.

It burns the world’s dirtiest fuel to move cargoes and passengers around the world. It is one of the biggest contributors to climate change, accounting for up to 3% of global emissions and 10% of transport emissions.

 United Nations trade statistics

They are expected to face many challenges in the future as they adheres to stricter environmental emissions regulations, which present a series of short-term challenges for profitability.

Yes, technology improvements are prodding the maritime cargo industry to new heights, forcing the industry to move to renewables to compete with fossil fuels in the maritime marketplace.

For the industry, the challenge is to develop technologies that can somehow maintain the current momentum without enacting environmental damage.

Finnish company Norsepower Rotor Sails is one of the global companies that offer such technology, which is based on the Magnus effect.

When wind meets the spinning rotor sail, the air flow accelerates on one side and decelerates on the opposite side, according to Norsepower. The change in the speed of air flow results in a pressure difference and generates a lift force that is perpendicular to the wind flow direction. The same principle applies to all rotating spheres and cylinders.

The essential parts of the Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution are:

  • Rotor Sails, which deliver the forward thrust
  • A control panel, which gives the captain full control of the operation and performance of the Rotor Sail Solution
  • A fully automatic control system, which optimizes the forward thrust of the Rotor Sails
  • A low-voltage electrical power supply to each Rotor Sail

This makes Rotor Sails effective 80% of sailing time, resulting in 460kW average propulsion boost, and 1.5MW peaking for 10% of time.

We need more such hybrid shipping solutions to make the world seaborne trade green.

Reference- Norsepower Rotor Sails website, Clean Technica, International Chamber of Shipping’s 2019 Annual Review