German bulk carrier company Oldendorff has become the latest ship operator to embrace a resurgence in wind propulsion technology with a contract with Norsepower to fit three rotor sails to one of its vessels. 

Oldendorff will fit the 24m x 4m rotors to the Dietrich Oldendorff to create fuel savings and reduce emissions by assisting the vessel’s conventional engines with power generated by the technology’s cylinder-shaped rotors. 

Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower, said: “Oldendorff is a dream customer for Norsepower in more than one way: a family-owned, legendary, company with over 100 years operating in the industry and around 700 vessels on the water today. 

“Oldendorff is making green shipping a reality today and is the best partner we could have on our journey towards the zero-carbon industry.” 

While Norsepower’s product has been used for a decade, it has recently ramped up production after raising €28m ($30m) in Series C funding in early 2023. 

Installation of the Dietrich Oldendorff’s rotors, which are partly manufactured from plastic bottles, will happen in Q2 of 2024 when the vessel will continue on its contracted route across the North Pacific to Asia. 

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The technology uses a small amount of electricity to rotate the rotors which, along with wind power, pushes air behind the sail and creates additional thrust for the ship. 

While wind propulsion is often thought of as a technology from the early days of shipping, modern rotors have seen interest as part of the industry’s decarbonisation goals with a range of companies now developing and providing the tech, including Anemoi Marine Technologies which recently received a grant from the UK Government.