MV Koryu

BHP, Pan Pacific Copper, and Norsepower to retrofit combination carrier with rotor sails

BHP has partnered with Pan Pacific Copper (PPC) and Norsepower to look into the installation of a wind-assisted propulsion system onboard a combination carrier operating between Chile and Japan.

Norsepower’s Rotor Sail, with a tilting foundation, will replace one of the deck cranes in a first-of-its-kind installation onboard MV Koryu/Source: Norsepower

At the moment, technical assessments are being carried out for the retrofit on-board the 53,762 DWT M/V Koryu, which is operated by Nippon Marine – a member of SENKO group.

The move is targeting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transportation between BHP’s mines in Chile and PPC’s smelters in Japan.

Namely, the two companies have signed multi-year agreements for the delivery of copper concentrates from Chile to Japan as well as sulphuric acid from Japan to Chile, making the cargo capacity utilization of M/V Koryu one of the highest in the industry.

Norsepower’s rotor sails installation is scheduled for completion by the third quarter of 2023. The sails will have a tilting foundation and will replace one of the deck cranes in a first-of-its-kind installation. According to the clean tech company, the retrofit will make M/V Koryu the cleanest vessel in its category when measured for GHG emissions intensity. 

The sails are modernized versions of Flettner rotors, and the technology uses the Magnus effect to harness wind and maximize ship fuel efficiency. When wind conditions are favorable, the sails enable for the main engines to be throttled back, saving fuel and reducing emissions, while also reducing power needed to maintain speed and voyage time. 

“Identifying and implementing innovative and sustainable solutions through our strong commodity and supply chain partnerships remain essential in supporting BHP’s decarbonisation ambitions,” BHP’s Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said.

JX Nippon Mining & Metals’ Deputy Chief Executive Officer / PPC President, Kazuhiro Hori said that PPC and BHP have been sharing the mission to accelerate the activities for decarbonization in line with the companies’ respective climate targets and goals.

“The Koryu project is a good example of our collaboration and valuable step that proves eagerness by both companies to establish ecosystem partnerships to take on the climate challenge,” he noted.

Specifically, JX Nippon Mining & Metals group is targeting to become net-zero by fiscal 2050 and is further accelerating its action to reduce CO2 emissions of Scope 3 including raw material production and logistics throughout the entire supply chain.

Our vision is to set the standard in bringing sailing back to shipping, and empower the maritime industry towards reaching the goal of zero carbon emissions. As fuel prices increase and a carbon levy is initiated, investing in technologies that have proven emissions reductions and fuel savings is essential for long term commercial success,” Norsepower’s CSO, Jukka Kuuskoski, said.

BHP has been very active in the push to decarbonize its maritime segment with biofuels trials involving an ocean-going vessel bunkered in Singapore, investing in LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carriers and joining a consortium to assess the development of an iron ore Green Corridor between Australia and East Asia. The company is also a founding member of the Global Maritime Decarbonisation Centre in Singapore.

Finland-based Norsepower is seeking to expand its technology in Asian markets. Two months ago, the cleantech company secured financing from Nefco, the Nordic green bank, to expand the production of its auxiliary wind propulsion solution in China. Over recent years, Norsepower has established two fully-owned subsidiaries in Hong Kong and Yancheng to respond to the growing demand in Asia.

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