Brazilian mining giant Vale S.A. has announced that it is to install five Rotor Sails from Anemoi Marine Technologies, one of the world’s leading suppliers of wind-assisted propulsion technology for commercial vessels, onboard a 400,000 dwt Valemax, the world’s largest ore carrier. The vessel is owned by Omani shipowner, Asyad.

The agreement between Vale and Anemoi will see five 35 m tall, 5 m in diameter, cylindrical sails installed on the Sohar Max VLOC. The Rotor Sails will be installed on Anemoi’s bespoke folding deployment system, whereby the sails can be folded from vertical to mitigate impact on air draught and cargo handling operations. The installation work is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2024.

Rotor Sails, also known as ‘Flettner Rotors’, are vertical cylinders that harness the renewable power of the wind to provide additional forward thrust and improve the energy efficiency of the vessel, along with significant cuts to carbon emissions.

Vale’s fleet of Valemax vessels typically trade on deep-sea routes between Brazil, China and the Middle East, which are particularly well-suited for wind propulsion and analysing the savings. As a result, the installation of Anemoi Rotor Sails is expected to bring significant fuel and emission savings with an expected 6% fuel reduction and cutting CO2 equivalent emissions by up to 3,000 tons per ship per year.

Vale is to install five Rotor Sails from Anemoi onboard the VLOC Sohar Max to bring significant fuel and emission savings. The Rotor Sails will be installed with Anemoi’s bespoke folding deployment system to mitigate impact on air draught and cargo handling operations. Credit: Anemoi Marine Technologies

Of the installation, Vale’s Shipping Technical Manager, Rodrigo Bermelho, said, “Wind energy will play a central role in our strategy to decarbonise the maritime transportation of iron ore.”

Nick Contopoulos, COO of Anemoi, said, “We are delighted to be announcing this partnership with Vale, Asyad and other key project stakeholders. Anemoi has been developing tailored solutions for Vale’s vessels for a number of years and this latest project signifies an important step in Vale’s decarbonisation journey, using wind assisted propulsion as they lead the way to improve the energy efficiency of their vessels and reduce their net emissions.”

Anemoi has established a world class supply chain that is unrivalled in China for manufacturing and delivering its Rotor Sails, partnering with CSSC Chengxi (China State Shipbuilding Corporation), Lianyungang Zhongfu Lianzhong Composite Material Group Co. Ltd, CRRC Corporation Ltd and SaierNico Electric & Automation Ltd.

Anemoi has also been appointed by Vale to undertake a full array of technical services both pre and post delivery, including the vessel integration design with SDARI (Shanghai Ship Design and Research Institute), support with plan A

approval, project management and onsite supervision, onboard training and after sales services to name a few.

Classification for the project will be awarded by Lloyd Register, who are also providing services related to the Equipment Design Approval and Plan Approvals for vessel integration.

This latest project from Anemoi follows the successful retrofit of three Rotor Sails with Rail Deployment Systems onboard an 82,000 dwt Kamsarmax bulk carrier in June 2023. Initial data harvested from the vessel to date suggest more than 10% average annual savings can be achieved.

Rotor Sails are proving a popular choice for ship owners looking for net-zero technologies to improve the energy efficiency of their vessels and help their ships meet critical international emission reduction targets, including EEDI/ EEXI and the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII).