The ship M/V Sea Zhoushan of the Brazilian mining company Vale with five rotor sails installed along the vessel to allow better efficiency is pictured in Zhoushan, China April 29, 2021. Brazilian mining company Vale/Handout via REUTERS.

Newbuild Vale VLOC Revealed as Bulk Carrier Getting Five Tilting Rotor Sails

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 12136
May 13, 2021

Finland-based Norsepower has announced the installation of five tilting Rotor Sails on board a newbuild Very Large Ore Carrier (VLOC) under construction in China.

The new vessel, named Sea Zhoushan, is owned by Pan Ocean Ship Management and will be chartered by Brazilian mining company Vale.

The installation of the Rotor Sails marks the first time the technology has been installed on a newbuild vessel and the largest vessel to date to get the technology… by far. It also marks the first bulk carrier installation.

VLOCs are among the largest iron ore carriers in the world, with the Sea Zhoushan coming in at 325,000 DWT. Vale’s VLOCs are typically used to transport iron ore from mines in Brazil to Asia and more installations are in the cards if this pilot proves effective.

Norsepower’s Rotor Sails are a modernized version of the Flettner rotor, first devised in the 1920’s to provide auxiliary wind propulsion to engine power. Today, they are used to optimize fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. According to Norsepower’s analysis of routes the vessel will trade on, the company estimates an efficiency gain of up to 8% corresponding to a reduction of 3,400 tons of CO2 per year.

“We are delighted to be working with Vale, and supporting them to maximise the propulsive power of wind to reduce carbon and other emissions as well as protecting the sustainability of its value chain more broadly,” said Tuomas Riski, CEO, Norsepower.

The installation includes five 24-meter tall by 4-meter diameter Rotor Sails that can be tilted by using hydraulic cylinders.

“Installing our Rotor Sails on the first VLOC demonstrates that our technology is adaptable across varied operational profiles and vessel types,” added Riski. “As vessel operators and charterers strive to decarbonize, the value of wind propulsion for both a retrofit and newbuild vessels is undeniable. The Rotor Sails can reduce a vessel’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and future-proof vessels against impending IMO Greenhouse Gas regulations as well as against inevitable fuel price increases as new fuels enter the market.”

Since its establishment in 2012, Norsepower has now installed Rotor Sails on five vessels including the latest installation on the SC Connector. Since 2018, the tanker Timberwolf (ex-Maersk Pelican) has operated with two Rotor Sails installed contributing to a verified fuel savings of 8.2% during the first year of operation. Other installations include the Viking Grace, MV Estraden and MV Copenhagen. We reported in December 2020 that Norsepower had confirmed five Rotor Sails would be installed on a newbuild bulk carrier, but the details of the vessel and operator were kept under wraps.

“We are committed to supporting the adoption of clean technology solutions for shipping to ensure that Vale’s sustainability objectives are achieved,” said Rodrigo Bermelho, Shipping Technical Manager at Vale. “Installing five Rotor Sails will maximise our fuel and emissions savings. We are working with Norsepower to ensure this new build is as environmentally friendly as possible and can achieve significant reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. If the pilot proves effective, it is estimated that at least 40% of the fleet will be able to use the technology, which would result in a reduction of almost 1.5% of Vale’s annual iron ore maritime transport emissions.”

More photos of the Sea Zhoushan installation for Vale are below:

Image courtesy Vale
Image courtesy Vale
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