Norsepower to fit rotor sails on low-emission RoRo fleet chartered by Airbus

Finnish mechanical sail company Norsepower Oy and French shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs SAS (LDA) have signed a deal to fit Norsepower’s rotor sails on the new low-emission RoRo fleet to be chartered to Airbus.


Under the agreement, described as historical wind propulsion deal, the new low-emission vessels, which will be used to ship aircraft components for Airbus, will each be powered by a combination of six 35-meter tall Norsepower Rotor Sails and two dual-fuel engines running on maritime diesel oil and e-methanol.

Additionally, routing software will optimize the vessels’ journey across the Atlantic, to maximize wind propulsion and avoid drag caused by adverse ocean conditions.

Norsepower Rotor Sail is a modernized version of the old Flettner rotor concept that uses electric power to actively rotate the cylinder-shaped rotors on the deck. These rotating sails use the wind to produce powerful thrust, reducing fuel consumption, and lowering emissions and costs, according to Norsepower.

“While the IMO has set challenging targets to bring shipping to net-zero, wind propulsion is considered as a viable element of the sustainable energy mix for seagoing ships. We are proud to be part on the energy transition through our partnership with Norsepower to offer innovative solutions and sustainably driving change,” said Mathieu Muzeau, Transport and Logistic General Manager at Louis Dreyfus Armateurs.

“This fleet-wide deal is a game changer for the whole auxiliary wind propulsion industry. Firstly, it is the biggest deal ever made in the mechanical sails market – and, in a world first, it includes our brand new Norsepower Sentient Control™ tool. We are honoured that the first charterer to utilise this advanced control system is Airbus, the foremost expert in aerodynamics in the world. We thank LDA and Airbus for being forerunners of this industry – and look forward to our continued cooperation!” Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower, commented.

The rotor sails will also feature the new patented Norsepower Sentient Control (NPSCTM), a real-time force measurement, control and savings reporting system.

This world-first tool enables each rotor to be controlled individually. This is expected to optimize efficiency by managing the complex aerodynamic interactions between the sails and the hydrodynamic behavior of the vessel.

Extensive Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and wind tunnel tests have been carried out during the design phase to optimize the sail arrangement and design.

By 2030, for the Transatlantic route, the new fleet will generate approximately 50% fewer CO2 emissions compared to 2023, as highlighted by Norsepower.

To remind, a few months ago Norsepower was selected to provide rotor sails for vessels owned by German bulk operator Oldendorff Carriers and chartered by Canada’s mining major Teck Resources Limited.

The agreement will see the vessel Dietrich Oldendorf, which carries shipments of Teck steelmaking coal from the Port of Vancouver, outfitted with a Flettner Rotor system by mid-2024.

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