MOL, Vale To Conduct Joint Study On Use Of Wind Propulsion System ‘Rotor Sail’ On Bulk Carrier

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) announced an agreement with Vale International SA (Note 1) to conduct a joint study on the installation of a wind propulsion system called “Rotor Sail” (Fig.1) on a 200,000-ton class in-service bulk carrier, which mainly transports iron ore for steel production. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the vessel while underway.

Rotor Sails are unique, tall cylindrical sails that can be installed on the deck of commercial vessels. The Rotor Sails make use of the aerodynamic phenomenon known as the ‘Magnus Effect’.

As the cylinder rotates within an airflow, a forward thrust force perpendicular to the apparent wind direction is created, which delivers additional thrust to the vessel. The thrust generated can either provide additional vessel speed or maintain vessel speed by reducing power from the main engine.

Rendering of Rotor Sail
Figure: 1 | Image Credits: mol.co.jp

The joint study team will examine and verify the number of Rotor Sails to be installed and the effect of GHG reduction, working closely with Anemoi Marine Technologies Ltd (Anemoi), the manufacturer of the Rotor Sails. Anemoi, based in the U.K., installed the world’s first Rotor Sail on a newbuilding Ultramax bulk carrier in 2018.

The MOL Group is implementing five initiatives (Fig.2) to realize the mid-to-long-term targets set out in the “MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.1”. Including this opportunity, we will pursue one of the initiatives “Enhancement of Energy-Saving Technologies” and continually strives to reduce GHG emissions in cooperation with leading companies in various industries, with the goals of “Achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2050.”

initiatives to realize MOL vision
Figure: 2 | Image Credits: mol.co.jp

(Note 1) Vale International SA
The world’s leading mining company, with annual iron ore production capacity of about 335 million tons.

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