Viking Grace becomes first wind-powered passenger ship

Viking Grace becomes first wind-powered passenger ship
Viking Grace is the first passenger ship to use wind power, thanks to a new Norsepower rotor sail solution (Image: Viking Line)

Viking Line’s Viking Grace has become the first commercial passenger ship in the world to use wind power, thanks to a new rotor sail solution developed by Finnish company Norsepower.

Designed to cut Viking Grace’s fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 900 tonnes annually, Norsepower’s cylindrical rotor sail uses the Magnus effect for propulsion. This means that as the rotor is spinning, the passing air will flow with a lower pressure on one side than on the opposite side. The propulsion force created by this pressure difference will drive the vessel forward. The automated systems will shut down in response to any disadvantageous changes in the direction or force of the wind.

Operational since 2013, Viking Grace already operates using LNG fuel and will now also use wind power on her voyages between Turku in Finland and Stockholm in Sweden.

“As an Åland shipping company, we rely on the sea for our livelihood so it’s of prime importance for us to promote the well-being of the marine sea,” said Jan Hanses, CEO of Viking Line. “We want to pioneer the use of solutions that reduce the environmental load. We are proud of the fact that Viking Grace will be the first passenger ship in the world to benefit from this innovative solution.”

Viking Line will also use the Norsepower rotor sail solution on its new vessel, which is due to be operational in 2020. Built in China, the passenger ship will be equipped with two mechanical rotor sails, thus doubling the wind power potential.

“For Norsepower, it’s an honour to be able to make Viking Grace even more environmentally-friendly by means of our novel rotor sail technology,” said Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower. “The last traditional windjammers in the world were owned and operated by shipping companies based in Åland, so it’s fitting that Åland-based Viking Line should be a forerunner in launching modern auxiliary sail technology. Viking Line and Norsepower’s organisations have collaborated in an excellent manner in retrofitting the rotor sail solution on Viking Grace, and the completion of this project is a great moment for all those involved.”

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Elizabeth Robinson
By Elizabeth Robinson
12 April 2018

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