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Vale touts a first with wind-powered ore carriers

Kitco News

Vale is taking delivery of large ore carriers with rotor sails, the diversified miner said today in a news release.

Rotor sails don't look like typical sails, rather just large steel columns.

"Rotor sails are cylindrical rotors, four meters in diameter and 24 meters high - equivalent to a seven-story building. During operation, the rotors rotate at different speeds, depending on the environmental and operational conditions of the ship, to create a pressure difference in order to move the ship forward, due to a phenomenon known as the Magnus effect," writes Vale.

The sails are being fitted on a VLOC (Very Large Ore Carrier) with 325,000 tons of capacity.

Vale claims that the five sails installed along the vessel that will allow a gain in efficiency of up to 8% and a consequent reduction of up to 3,400 tons of CO2 equivalent per ship per year.

"If the pilot proves efficient, it is estimated that at least 40% of the fleet will be able to use the technology, which would result in a reduction of almost 1.5% of Vale's annual iron ore maritime transport emissions."

Finnish manufacturer Norsepower and Korean shipowner Pan Ocean partnered to install the technology. The Chinese design company Shanghai Ship and Design Research Institute (SDARI) was responsible for vessel design and integration with sail. Vale was project leader.

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