Finnish wind propulsion company Norsepower Oy has announced it has signed an agreement with Finnish shipping line Viking Line to install rotor sails onboard the LNG-fueled cruise ferry MS Viking Grace.

The 57,565 GT Viking Grace currently operates between Turku, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden, and is already one of the most environmentally-friendly cruise ferries in the world.

With the addition of Norsepower’s rotor sail technology, the vessel will further reduce its emissions, fuel burn and fuel costs. In fact Norsepower estimates that the technology can cut carbon emissions by around 900 tonnes annually, the equivalent to cutting 300 tonnes of LNG fuel per year.


M/V Estraden with two Rotor Sail units.

The Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution is a modernized version of the Flettner rotor; a spinning cylinder that uses the Magnus effect to harness wind power to propel a ship. The solution is fully automated and senses whenever the wind is strong enough to deliver fuel savings, at which point the rotors start automatically. The technology is already in commercial use on board the Bore’s M/V Estraden, a 9,700 DWT Ro-Ro carrier, which has achieved a 6.1% reduction in fuel consumption through use of the rotor sails.

Norsepower says the Viking Grace will be retrofitted with one medium-sized Norsepower Rotor Sail unit measuring 24 meters in height 4 meters in diameter. Installation scheduled to take place during Q2 of 2018.

Once complete, the Viking Grace will be the first-ever hybrid ship to operate on a combination of LNG and wind power.

“As an organisation that strives to ensure that our fleet operates in an environmentally friendly and economical way, we are proud to be partnering with Norsepower,” said Ulf Hagström, Senior Vice President, Marine Operations & Newbuildings, Viking Line. “Our cruise vessel is the first to use a combination of alternative clean fuels, modern Rotor Sails, electric propulsion, and a hydrodynamically optimised hull. We believe in the Rotor Sail Solution technology’s ability to enhance our ship’s performance by enabling significant reductions in fuel burn and costs, as well as carbon emissions.”

Commenting on the deal, Tuomas Riski, CEO, Norsepower said: “This project marks the first of its kind modern auxiliary wind propulsion technology installation onboard a cruise ferry. As a Finnish based clean technology and engineering company, we are proud to be partnering with yet another prominent shipping company as we work towards a modern era of auxiliary wind propulsion for the global maritime fleet, while supporting shipping’s transition to the low carbon economy.”

The MS Viking Grace was built in 2013 at the former STX Turku shipyard in Finland, with engines, propellers and bow thrusters from Wärtsilä. Currently it is equipped to run on traditional heavy fuel oil, diesel or liquefied natural gas (LNG