MOL to install Norsepower’s rotor sails on a bulker chartered by VALE

Japanese shipping major Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Brazilian mining giant Vale International SA have decided to retrofit a 200,000-ton class bulk carrier with two rotor sails produced by Norsepower Oy Ltd.

Image credit MOL

The bulker is owned by MOL and employed by VALE under a mid-term contract for the transportation of iron.

The installation of the two 35m x 5m rotor sails is expected in the first half of 2024, MOL said.

The fully automated Norsepower Rotor SailTM produces thrust as the wind generates differential pressure around the slewing rotor while the vessel is sailing.

By applying this solution, the vessel is expected to achieve about 6-10% fuel and GHG emissions reductions, combined with voyage optimisation technology, the companies explained.

“MOL and VALE will continue to work towards both the stable transportation of iron ore and the reduction of GHG emissions,” the duo added.

Artistic rendering of vessel with Norsepower Rotor SailsTM

MOL has been a strong supporter of wind propulsion technology as a pathway to lower the carbon footprint of its operations. The company recently completed the maiden voyage of Shofu Maru, the world’s first bulk carrier to be partially powered by wind. The vessel is fitted with a hardsail system, also known as the Wind Challenger.

The system is a telescoping hardsail that harnesses wind power to propel the vessel. The sail can be shortened and extended (55 meters in length) adapting automatically to the wind conditions on board as it can rotate 360 degrees.

The round journey also provided the crew of the vessel with an opportunity to check how the Wind Challenger behaved in real-life conditions and gather data on its performance.

According to MOL, despite some teething problems, the system is as effective as expected.

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MOL also plans to launch the construction of Wind Hunter, a hydrogen-producing vessel outfitted with multiple rigid sails, in 2024.

The project intends to use MOL’s rigid, collapsible sail technology developed under the Wind Challenger project on vessels capable of capturing that power during high wind periods to generate hydrogen for use during lower wind sections of the voyage.

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