Finnish clean technology and engineering company Norsepower is planning to install its Flettner rotor sails technology on a Maersk Tankers-owned vessel, with assistance from the UK's Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and Shell Shipping & Maritime.

Norsepower will install two of its wind propulsion systems on Maersk's 109,647dwt long range 2 (LR2) product tanker vessel as part of the deal.

The technology will be tested at sea until the end of 2019 and is scheduled to be installed on the Maersk vessel during the first half of next year.

The rotor sails technology features a length of 30m, and is expected to provide insights into fuel savings and operational experience during sea trials, as well as reduce average fuel consumption on typical global shipping routes by 7%-10%.

"As an abundant and free renewable energy, wind power has a role to play in supporting the shipping industry to reduce its fuel consumption."

Norsepower CEO Tuomas Riski said: “We are optimistic that support for this trial from these industry leading organisations will open up the market for our technology to a larger number of long-range product tanker vessels, paving the way for ship fuel efficiencies and ultimately reducing emissions, including greenhouse gases.

“As an abundant and free renewable energy, wind power has a role to play in supporting the shipping industry to reduce its fuel consumption and meet impending carbon reduction targets.”

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ETI will provide majority of the funding for the trial, while Maersk and Norsepower will also make contributions.

The project will coordinated by Shell with additional technical and operational insights from Maersk.