High tech rotor sails complete with weather stations could be the answer to cutting shipping emissions, reports Eric Marx
The shipping sector’s interest in “sail tech” took on greater urgency after the International Maritime Organization reached an agreement last April to slash emissions by 50% by 2050.
“Just in the last six to 12 months we’ve seen a significant groundswell of support,” said Gavin Allwright, secretary of the International Windship Association (IWSA), a membership organisation that promotes wind propulsion for commercial shipping and boasts over 100 members.
In the past year there’s been a threefold increase in rotor-sail installations, with 14 rotors fitted on six vessels, said Allwright.
This is not about guys with shaggy beards and pipes pulling in the rigging. These are all computer-operated
Rotor sails have a large spinning cylinder amidship. Wind hitting the rotor creates a vertical force that reduces the power requirement from a ship’s main propellers, a phenomenon known as the Magnus effect.
“This is not about guys with shaggy beards and pipes pulling in the rigging,” said Allwright. “These are all computer-operated, with weather stations on vessels helping to get the maximum utility from the rigs.”
Last April, the Finnish shipping company Viking Line’s M/S Viking Grace, which was the first passenger ferry to run on liquified natural gas, became the first passenger ferry to be...