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Winds of Change: Norsepower's Innovative Approach to Sustainable Shipping

Jufo Peltomaa, CMO of Norsepower, Discusses Cutting-Edge Wind Propulsion Systems and Their Impact on the Future of Maritime Transportation

In the realm of maritime transportation, the quest for sustainable and efficient solutions has never been more critical. In front of this movement is Norsepower, a Finnish cleantech company revolutionizing the industry with its advanced wind propulsion systems. TechNews180 recently sat down with Jufo Peltomaa, the Chief Marketing Officer of Norsepower, to delve into the intricacies of their innovative Rotor Sails and explore how they are reshaping the environmental footprint of global shipping.

During the conversation, Jufo shed light on the technology behind Norsepower's Rotor Sails, debunking common misconceptions and highlighting the significant benefits of this modern approach to wind propulsion. From the substantial fuel savings to the ease of retrofitting these systems on existing vessels, Norsepower is setting a new standard in maritime sustainability.

Jufo also shared exciting updates on ongoing developments and future enhancements, promising even greater efficiencies and emission reductions.

[Neil Hodgson-Coyle] How much electric power is used to rotate the cylindrical sails?

[Jufo Peltomaa] A common misconception is that the wind would spin the rotor sail, but it is not the case. Instead, we use some of the ship’s electricity to actively spin the rotor sail with an electric motor. The electric motor uses 60 to 143 kilowatts, depending on the diameter, and height of the sails.

[Neil Hodgson-Coyle] If you could explain about the throttling back process and how it reduces emissions.

[Jufo Peltomaa] We produce extra thrust with the Norsepower Rotor Sail, which will allow the ship to throttle back as needed. For example we almost doubled the top speed of one Sea-Cargo’s vessel SC Connector. With a good wind the Norsepower Rotor Sails produce so much thrust that the vessel’s top speed was raised from 12 to 20 knots. So, the captain can decide whether to do more business with the raised top speed - or to throttle back and sail and save fuel and cut emissions. The Norsepower Control System offers messages to the crew about the extra thrust available. Generally speaking the Norsepower Rotor Sail is very autonomous, and you don't have to play much with it after starting it. The fuel savings on SC Connector are typically 20 - 25% per year.

[Neil Hodgson-Coyle] How is it more efficient compared to normal sails?

[Jufo Peltomaa] Norsepower Rotor Sail is about 6 - 10 times more efficient than the normal sail if you consider the surface area. And the minimized area is very important because any wind propulsion solution may block the visibility depending on its placement. 10 times less area is good for bridge visibility, and supports the classification and IMO rule compliance. One side of the comparison is that if we were to use the same amount of electric power and put it to the propeller, it would be somewhere around 13 times less efficient. So, we are really getting the propulsion from the wind, not from the electricity as such. The electricity is only used to spin the sail to “wake up” the physics phenomenon called the Magnus effect, which will then generate thrust from the wind.

[Neil Hodgson-Coyle] How hard is it to retrofit the sails? Because I assume most ships, tankers, etc., they don't already come with this.

[Jufo Peltomaa] We are doing both new builds and retrofits. And retrofitting is, of course, somewhat complicated, but we have lots of experience with it, and we, let's say that we have now installed 60-40 with the retrofit.

We have a really good, proven and tested process for retrofitting our product. Sometimes we have to strengthen the ship's structures, ase there can be quite many megawatts of thrust by the sail, and that requires, of course, the ship to be able to take those forces.

[Neil Hodgson-Coyle] Are there any particular areas of improvement or development that you're working on currently? Any new size sails?

[Jufo Peltomaa] Yeah, we have all kinds of nice things coming up. Let's say that on the digital side, we just launched the Norsepower Sentient Control system, which means that the sail understands what's happening around it. This removes the guesswork, as the nearest anemometer can be e.g. 50 meters away. The Sentient Control knows what's happening in real-time, and based on that, we can get extra savings and emission reductions. We are doing great innovations on both the software side of things, such as the data gathering and analysis and the AI - and also on the physical side of things. Some upgrades are to come to our existing customers, so not only the new customers will get extra benefits from them.

Conclusion

As the maritime industry continues to grapple with the challenges of reducing its environmental impact, Norsepower stands out in innovation and practicality. Jufo Peltomaa's insights reveal a future where shipping is not only more efficient but also significantly greener.

With ongoing advancements and a commitment to sustainability, Norsepower is poised to lead the charge in transforming global shipping into an environmentally responsible powerhouse.

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