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Viking Grace installs rotor sail for wind-assisted propulsion

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LNG Industry,

Viking Line has installed a rotor sail on the LNG-fuelled ferry Viking Grace, making it the first passenger ship in the world equipped with a rotor sail for the utilisation of wind power. Lloyd’s Register approved the structure and the risk-assessment related to the installation of the sail, in line with its Guidance Notes for Flettner Rotor Approval. The approvals were carried out to guarantee that the Flettner rotor would not adversely affect the safe operation of the ship or the safety of the crew.

The rotor sail, developed by Finnish company Norsepower Oy Ltd, is anticipated to decrease fuel consumption and reduce emissions by up to 900 t CO2 per year. Viking Grace is already operating on wind assisted voyages between Turku, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden, and has been in operation since 2013 when Lloyd’s Register helped Viking Line handle the complexities of the LNG tanks on the stern deck as well as its regulatory, class and operational requirements.

The cylindrical rotor sail installed on Viking Grace is 24 m in height and 4 m in diameter and uses the Magnus effect for propulsion. As the rotor is spinning, the passing air flows with a lower pressure on one side than the opposite side. The propulsion force created by this pressure difference drives the vessel forward. The rotor sail operation is automated and the system will shut down in the event of any disadvantageous changes in the direction or force of the wind.

“The use of wind power reflects Viking Line’s green values and we want to pioneer the use of solutions that reduce impact on the environment. Based in Finland, Norsepower has developed a world-class mechanical rotor sail solution that will reduce fuel consumption. We are proud of the fact that Viking Grace will be the first passenger ship in the world to benefit from this innovative solution,” said Jan Hanses, CEO of Viking Line.

Lloyd Register’s Jane Jenkins, Lead Specialist, Passenger Ship Support Centre, commented: “A few years ago Lloyd's Register developed an animation called ‘The Ferry – a story of innovation’, which at one point shows a ferry with wind rotors and kite sails sailing across the screen at breakneck speed. At the time rotor sail technology was clear but not immediately contemplated in the context of a ferry. It is wonderful to see what seemed like an idea at the time become a reality. We are immensely proud to have been part of the journey.”

Viking Line also plans to use wind propulsion in the company’s new vessel, due to be operational in 2020. Built in China, the passenger ship will be equipped with two mechanical rotor sails supplied by Norsepower, doubling the wind power potential.

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