Harnessing renewable energy at sea. Developed by: Norsepower

Wind propulsion for large ships

Windjammers were a class of sailing vessels built from the 1870s to 1900. As engine technology developed, they were slowly phased out and replaced by steamships which were faster and could stay on schedule regardless of wind conditions. But what if the power of wind could be harnessed to create a hybrid solution for today’s modern fleets? 

That’s the idea behind Norsepower’s Rotor Sail Solution—a spinning cylinder that harnesses wind power to generate the thrust needed to propel vessels. When conditions are favorable, the Norsepower Rotor Sails allow the main engines to be throttled back, saving fuel and reducing emissions while providing the power needed to maintain speed and voyage time. It’s an innovative approach the shipping industry needs. Urgently. Consider this: Cargo vessel fuel costs have skyrocketed 200 percent during the last 10 years. And regulations continue to tighten, demanding more sustainable solutions. 


Founded in 2012, Norsepower is the first company in the world to successfully harness renewable wind energy to reduce fuel consumption on large commercial ships. The Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution reduces fuel burn, fuel costs, and related emissions, including carbon. It can be retrofitted to around 25,000 existing vessels and generate up to 30 percent fuel savings. The solution can also be delivered as a service. The typical payback period for customers ranges from three to eight years.

The first vessel pilot launched in November of 2014 when the 18-metre prototype Rotor
Sail was installed on shipping company Bore Oy’s vessel, M/S Estraden. The pilot project marked the first time a modern auxiliary wind propulsion technology was retro-fitted on a
commercial cargo vessel.

If Norsepower’s innovation, or others like it, penetrates 30 percent of the target market by 2028, the global greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 10 million tons of CO2e annually.

In April 2018, Norsepower’s technology was installed onboard the M/S Viking Grace, making her the first passenger ship in the world using auxiliary wind propulsion. Norsepower is currently collaborating on a project with Maersk Tankers, The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), and Shell Shipping & Maritime to supply a 109,647-deadweight tonne (DWT) Long Range 2 (LR2) Maersk-owned product tanker vessel with two 30m tall by 5m diameter Rotor Sails.

Norsepower was co-founded by Tuomas Riski, the company’s Chief Executive Officer. Jarkko Väinämö is the Chief Technology Officer. Jukka Kuuskoski, acts as the Chief Sales Officer. And Professor Kai Levander, naval architect, advises the company on technical aspects of the shipping industry and the Rotor Sail system.