Louis Dreyfus Armateurs inks largest ever Rotor Sail deal

The Finnish mechanical sail company Norsepower Oy has won the largest wind power order to date. French shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs will install the manufacturer’s rotor sails on ro-ro newbuildings under construction, which are destined for charter to Airbus.

The vessels will be used to transport aircraft components for Airbus.

The Norsepower Rotor Sail is a modernised version of the old Flettner rotor concept that uses electric power to actively rotate the cylinder-shaped rotors on the deck.

These rotating sails use the wind to produce powerful thrust, reducing fuel consumption, lowering emissions and costs.

The vessels will each be powered by a combination of six 35-meter tall Norsepower Rotor Sails and two dual-fuel engines that run on maritime diesel oil and e-methanol.

Additionally, routing software will optimise the vessels’ journey across the Atlantic, maximising wind propulsion and avoiding drag caused by adverse ocean conditions.

Mathieu Muzeau, transport and logistic general manager at Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, highlighted that “wind propulsion is considered as a viable element of the sustainable energy mix for seagoing ships.”

By 2030, the new fleet is expected to produce 50% fewer CO2 emissions on the Transatlantic route compared to 2023. The rotor sails will feature the new patented Norsepower Sentient Control™ (NPSC™), a real-time force measurement, control and savings reporting system.

This tool allows each rotor to be controlled individually, managing the complex aerodynamic interactions between the sails and the hydrodynamic behaviour of the ship.

Tuomas Riski, chief executive of Norsepower, pointed out: “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.”