China makes headway in domestically-developed rotor sails with 1st ship installation

A Chinese-flagged bulker fitted with a domestically developed rotor sail took to the water at the No. 2 wharf of CSSC Chengxi Shipbuilding Co., a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation, marking a solid step forward in the practical application of wind-assisted rotor technology developed in China.

The 45,000 dwt bulker Chang Hang Sheng Hai, built-in 2012 by Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry Co, is owned by Minsheng Financial Leasing and operated by Shanghai Ming Wah Shipping, data from VesselsValue shows.

The Handysize bulker has been fitted with four rotor sails. The installed rotor sails boast a diameter of 3 meters and an overall height of 24 meters, respectively. By incorporating wind-assisted rotors, the vessel is expected to achieve energy savings of over 5% while significantly reducing carbon oxide emissions during navigation.

The rotor sail harnesses wind energy to augment a ship’s propulsion and holds great potential for achieving energy savings in bulk carriers and large oil tankers.

Image credit: CSSC Chengxi Shipbuilding Co.

Driven by the national agenda of promoting green development and the urgency to enhance energy-saving and emission-reduction technologies in the shipping sector, China Shipbuilding Chengxi has been leading the marine rotor sail development project in collaboration with multiple partners since 2020.

Over the course of three years, the project has completed theoretical research, developed and tested principle prototypes, designed engineering prototypes, and accomplished manufacturing, installation, and commissioning.

With the installation of wind-assisted rotors on an actual ship, the project has achieved its ultimate goal and is now ready for further testing and verification, Chengxi Shipbuilding said.