Airbus-chartered RoRo fleet gets sails
French shipowner, Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) has ordered rotor sail technology from Norsepower to cut emissions of its RoRo fleet that will be ferrying Airbus aircraft components in the future.
The Norsepower Rotor Sail is a modern version of the Flettner rotor design that utilises electric power to actively rotate the cylindrical sails on the deck. These rotating sails harness the wind to generate strong thrust, which reduces fuel consumption, lowers emissions, and cuts costs.
Airbus will use new low-emission RoRo ships to transport their aircraft components. These ships will each be powered by six 35-meter tall Norsepower Rotor Sails. Additionally, the vessels will feature two dual-fuel engines that run on maritime diesel oil and e-methanol. Furthermore, routing software will optimise the journey of these vessels across the Atlantic, maximizing wind propulsion and avoiding drag caused by adverse ocean conditions.
“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 of 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.
RoRo fleet to halve CO2 emissions
By 2030, the new RoRo fleet on the Transatlantic route will produce approximately 50 per cent fewer CO2 emissions compared to 2023. The rotor sails will feature the newly patented Norsepower Sentient Control system. The system allows real-time force measurement, control, and savings reporting. This tool enables each rotor to be individually controlled. This optimises efficiency by managing complex aerodynamic interactions between the sails and the vessel’s hydrodynamic behavior. During the design phase, extensive Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and wind tunnel tests were conducted to improve the sail arrangement and design.
Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower, commented, “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 SentientControl 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!”