Oldendorff and Teck to fit bulker with rotor sails as part of decarbonization push

German bulk operator Oldendorff Carriers GmbH & Co. KG has entered into an agreement with Canada’s mining major Teck Resources Limited to use wind propulsion to reduce COemissions in Teck’s supply chain.

Image credit Oldendorff

The joint investment 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.

The Flettner Rotors generate lift from wind, converting it into additional thrust and thereby reducing fuel consumption during trans-Pacific voyages. The incorporation of these rotors, in conjunction with other emission reduction measures, is projected to decrease emissions by 55%, resulting in an annual reduction of over 17,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. This reduction is equivalent to removing 3,500 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles from the road.

The rotor sails will be manufactured by Finnish cleantech company Norsepower, which also uses recycled materials from approximately 342,000 plastic bottles to make the rotors.

“This innovative agreement to utilize wind power in shipping will reduce the carbon footprint in Teck’s supply chain and help advance the development of green transportation corridors,” said Jonathan Price, President and CEO, Teck.

“We are excited to harness the power of the wind in the transpacific dry bulk trade with a progressive partner like Teck. Our mutual determination to drive a decarbonized supply chain can only be realized through cooperation and collaboration,” Patrick Hutchins, CEO of Oldendorff Carriers added.

“The energy transition has begun, and we are prepared to make the necessary joint investments that will provide a meaningful reduction of emissions. Forty years of historical weather data show that the trade between the Pacific Northwest and Asia is one of the best trade lanes for producing reliable wind energy.”

The duo started working together on the reduction of supply chain emissions in November 2021, and since then the companies have eliminated an estimated 115,000 tonnes of COemissions, the equivalent of removing over 25,000 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles from the road.

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Teck and Oldendorff are also currently piloting the use of biofuel on another bulk carrier as another means to lower emissions.

Oldendorff is trialing biofuel with another partner. Namely, the company is working with Brazilian mining giant Vale on the use of biofuel on one of its bulk vessels as part of joint emission reduction efforts.

The expected well-to-wake COequivalent savings is around 18% or 784 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent and will contribute to Vale’s Scope 3 emission reduction, Oldendorff said.