Thursday, March 17, 2016

Wanted: Asistance to Build a 'Sailing' Ship for the 21st Century  

Old Technology Reinvigorated

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Shipping News Feature UK – WORLDWIDE – An exciting opportunity exists for someone in the maritime sector to invest in ‘new’ technology aiming to 'reinvent the wheel'. The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is seeking partners for a new project which it hopes will deliver fuel savings of at least 10% for large shipping vessels, cargo or otherwise. This new Flettner Rotor Supply, Install and Commission Project will deliver a full scale demonstrator of Flettner Rotor technology on a large ocean going ship which the ETI intends to source for the demonstration phase. As can be seen from our picture this is not the first time a merchant vessel has been kitted out in this way.

1924 saw the launch of the first such ship, the Buckau, renamed later the Baden Baden utilising the system designed by German engineering genius Anton Flettner, followed in 1929 by the launch of the 2,077 gross tonne Barbara, a cargo ship which successfully sailed the Atlantic. Development of the system was hindered by the world's financial situation and the sails were removed when the ship changed hands and was remodelled.

Since that time there have been several vessels fitted out with the technology which can be shown to definitely have a beneficial effect on performance at sea with regard to economy. The advance of the marine diesel pre and post war was a principal cause of the system failing to be trialled until comparatively recently when the launch of the E-Ship 1 in 2010 advanced interest in the system further. The ETI project is said to be the first demonstration on such a large vessel and will provide valuable insights into real world fuel savings and ease of operation.

The Expression of Interest (EoI) aims to identify organisations capable of providing Flettner rotor technology for a large internationally traded ship and deadline for notification of intention to submit a proposal is 31 March 2016 with the EoI for the project due to close on 15 April 2016. with details available to view here. The ETI intends to use the EoI submissions to select a preferred technology provider capable of moving to the shaping phase of a full scale demonstration project.

Respondents will need to set out how their technology will deliver fuel savings of at least 10% and also how they would design, supply, install, commission, test and then support Flettner rotor vessel installation. At sea testing of the performance of the Flettner rotor installation will take place for at least one year after installation. Andrew Scott , manager for the ETI’s Flettner Rotor Supply, Install and Commission Project said:

“This is a project to design, develop and fit Flettner rotor blades, effectively mechanical sails, which will then be demonstrated and tested at sea in real life conditions. Studies have shown that Flettner blades could be beneficial in certain sea conditions around the world reducing fuel consumption in ships of between 7 and 15%. However, there has been insufficient full scale demonstration on a suitable marine vessel to prove the technology benefits. Successfully demonstrating this would make the technology more attractive to shipping companies and investors. The technology, if proved successful, could also be retrofitted to existing shipping fleets and play a significant role in reducing the fuel costs, so improving environmental impact.”

The ETI will also shortly launch two new Requests for Proposals in the marine element of its Heavy Duty Vehicles efficiency programme for partners to design and demonstrate a high efficiency propulsion system and a waste heat recovery system which could further reduce emissions from shipping.

Photo: The Barbara in her heyday. 

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