Maersk Tankers is trialling wind propulsion as a way to fight soaring bunker bills. Two 30 m tall rotor sails have been installed onboard the LR2 product tanker vessel Maersk Pelican (pictured) targeting a reduction in fuel cost and associated emissions on typical global shipping routes of 7% to 10%.
The rotor sails have been developed by Norsepower and the project also sees Shell and the Energy Technologies Institute taking part.
The rotor sails are large, cylindrical mechanical sails that spin to create a pressure differential – called the Magnus effect – that propels the vessel forward.
The rotor sails are the world’s largest at 30 m tall by 5 m in diameter and were installed on the product tanker vessel in the port of Rotterdam. The first voyage with the rotor sails installed will commence shortly.
“This project is breaking ground in the product tanker industry. While the industry has gone through decades of technological development, the use of wind propulsion technology onboard a product tanker vessel could take us to a new playing field. This new technology has the potential to help the industry be more cost-competitive as it moves cargoes around the world for customers and to reduce the environmental impact,” said Tommy Thomassen, chief technical officer, Maersk Tankers.