Wind powers vessels

article picture: Wind powers vessels

Photos above: Le Four in northern Finistère Windside WS-0,15B installed 2021. Photo by: Direction Interrégionale de la Mer Nord Atlantique Manche Ouest.

Wind turbines in vessels is not a new invention. Savonius Rotor was invented by a Finn, Sigurd Savonius in 1926, almost 100 years ago. Operation of his invention is based on Magnus effect and Flettner law; very familiar to people involved in sailing.

The same physics laws are prevailing in Windside turbine, born 1982 in Finland by Risto Joutsiniemi. Due to shape and some mechanical differences, Windside has many advantages over Savonius rotor, e.g. totally soundless operation and utmost durability producing energy also in storms.

After working over 40 years with Windside turbines, Mr. Joutsiniemi describes that “a long journey has been just as a day of small beginnings; future is at sea”. – Despite the growing interest today from building industry.

“As Windside turbines are strong enough to face storms seen by lighthouse Le Four in France, or McMurdo base station in Antarctica, they surely can stand and produce safe electricity also on vessels,” Mr. Joutsiniemi says.

Windside Production Oy Ltd
Windside WS-0,15B installed 2021.

Civil engineer Per Kavli and the company Green Ships in Oslo are behind the projects for designing boats using only renewable energy as energy source.

Mr. Kavli says: “Environmental requirement and regulations in maritime sector are under big changes. The whole shipping industry is looking for new power plant solutions and the ultimate goal is to obtain ZERO NOX and CO2 emissions.

This has resulted in the use of some new fuel options: Hydrogen, ammonia, methanol, fuel cells and also LNG (which is not really a fossil free option, but in some ways better than MDO).

One way to reduce emissions is to use free energy from wind and sun. Wind turbines are a good alternative, as they can work 24h/day/365 days/year, and require less space.”

Windside Production Oy Ltd
Civil engineer Per Kavli. Photo: Iván Kverme.

“They can work as roll reduction units, due to the «Gyro effect», which to some extent can substitute expensive active roll reduction fins. Also, when the vessel is moving, it creates something called the «Magnus effect», which reduces the ships wind resistance.”

Mr. Kavli describes a new modern hybrid ship: “The 160 m medium size cruise ship is designed for operation in the Norwegian world heritage fjords, where ZERO emission is a mandatory requirement, from 1.1.2016 onwards. This ship will use a combination of fuel cells, large size batteries, and 5 large size Windside wind turbines. The same concept can and will be used in many types of ships, such as Ropax ferries, offshore ships, etc.”

Mr. Kavli estimates that from the day one, the ships will reduce emissions ca. 70% compared to existing tonnage, and later on even more.

Windside Production Oy Ltd

In the future, Mr. Kavli sees a large market for environmentally friendly cruise, tourism and ferry traffic. Authorities in several countries are keen for new ferry connections, to be operated with low-emission ferries that generate minimum noise.

“New Hybrid ships that do not use fossil fuels is the future. It makes sense to use wind turbines as they are suitable for most types of ships. Also good for roll reduction purposes, typically where there are passengers on board,” he says.

Green Ships AS is an Oslo-based maritime consulting firm owned by Per Kavli’s family company, Kavli Eiendom.

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