BHP installs wind-powered rotor on vessel to decarbonize Chile-Japan trade route

BHP, together with its Japanese partner Pan Pacific Copper (PPC), has announced the retrofit installation of a wind-powered rotor designed by Finnish […]
The M/V Koryu en route. Credit: BHP






BHP, together with its Japanese partner Pan Pacific Copper (PPC), has announced the retrofit installation of a wind-powered rotor designed by Finnish cleantech firm Norsepower on a vessel that will carry copper concentrates from its mines in Chile to Japan, and sulphuric acid from Japan to Chile.

The Norsepower Rotor Sail (NPRS) represents a modernized version of the Flettner rotor. The technology is based on the Magnus effect, which harnesses wind to improve ship fuel efficiency. Under favourable wind conditions, the NPRS allows the vessel’s main engines to be throttled back, saving fuel and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by reducing the power needed to maintain speed and voyage time.

The rotor sail stands at 35 metres tall with a diameter of 5 metres, and has a tilting foundation that allows it to be lowered down to facilitate cargo loading and discharge operations at ports.

The vessel (M/V Koryu) is a combination carrier operated by Nippon Marine (a member of the SENKO group and jointly owned by SENKO and JX Advanced Metals). It is currently en route on its first voyage following NPRS installation last month.

Based on advanced simulations and Norsepower’s real-world performance data, the use of NPRS is estimated to provide a 5-6% fuel savings, on average, on the route between Chile and Japan, and is expected to make M/V Koryu the best-performing vessel in its category when measured for its GHG emissions intensity.

BHP, PPC and Norsepower will be monitoring the NPRS performance onboard the M/V Koryu to determine the actual fuel savings and associated GHG emissions reduction. The collaboration aimed at reducing GHG emissions from maritime transportation between Chile and Japan was first established in August 2022.

“There are multiple onboard innovations that have potential to achieve GHG emissions reduction in the maritime supply chain and we are pleased to have collaborated with PPC and Norsepower, our like-minded ecosystem partners, to retrofit the Norsepower Rotor Sail on M/V Koryu to reduce shipping GHG emissions intensity on our Chile-Japan trade route," BHP’s VP maritime & supply chain excellence, Rashpal Bhatti, said in a press release.

"This route has one of the most favourable wind conditions, which was an important factor that the parties considered. It is one of the longest routes globally with such conditions, allowing the vessel to benefit from the longest ton/mile wind propulsion," he added.

 This project, which aims to reduce GHG emissions intensity in maritime transportation between Japan and Chile, is a symbol of our cooperation with our partners to progress towards a decarbonized society, and we look forward to seeing the rotor sail’s performance," PPC’s executive officer Tomonori Uemura said.


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