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French tanker to be retrofitted with rotor sails

Rotors continue to be seen as viable fuel and emission reducing devices and French tanker operator Socatra has been the latest to take advantage of their use.

The Bordeaux-based company, founded in 1977, has entered into a contract with Norway’s Norsepower to have two 35m-tall rotors retrofitted to its 2022-built medium-range (MR) tanker Alcyone which is currently on charter to TotalEnergies.

The Norsepower rotors are modern versions of the 1920s developed Flettner Rotor and are spun against a sidewind using a small electric motor.

This  creates high and low pressure areas around the cylinder that aid a ship’s forward propulsion.

The rotational direction of the cylinder can be changed to match wind direction, although there is little benefit gained from head or tail winds during which the rotors are normally turned off.

Installations to date have indicated their use can reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions by as much as 8 per cent depending upon wind conditions over the vessel’s route.

Report by Jim Shaw

Ships Montly - January 2024

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