- Wärtsilä announces complete integration of an innovative propulsion device – the gate rudder – within its propulsion product designs.
- This comes after Wärtsilä enters into a partnership relationship with the device’s Japanese patent holders.
- The agreement focuses on future development, sales and services of the gate rudders.
The Motorship in one of its recent articles highlights details of the signing of the license and co-operation agreement with Kuribayashi Steamship Co.
Professor Noriyuki Sasaki – One of the device’s inventors
Professor Noriyuki Sasaki of Strathclyde University told that the gate rudder system was a completely new type of propulsion device. It is based on the application of an open type ducted propeller system, which produces additional thrust rather than additional drag. The twin arrangement around the propeller offers significant fuel efficiency advantages.
Compliance with the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI)
By offering gate rudders as an integral part of Wärtsilä’s propulsion offerings for new build vessels, compliance with the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) will be further facilitated. The Motorship notes that the gate rudder may permit derating the main engine size, without impacting on operational performance.
A year-long trial
Preliminary results from a year-long trial aboard a coastal container vessel in Japan, Shigenobu, had identified the potential for double-digit fuel efficiency savings for ship operators, while the propulsion device also offered improved manoeuvrability and course stability advantages.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the propulsion device’s results was a substantial positive discrepancy between sea trial and operational results. Initial analysis of the operational results suggested the gate rudder offered superior performance in heavier weather, especially in head sea conditions.
The propulsion device is also suitable for retrofitting to current vessels equipped with conventional propellers: Shigenobu itself was retrofitted with the device.
Technology will become accessible all over the marine industry
This new collaborative partnership will accelerate the deployment of gate rudder systems across all vessel classes. By combining Wärtsilä’s propulsion and machinery integration expertise with the Japanese patent holders’ gate rudder technology and know-how, this new technology will become accessible throughout the marine sector, with ship owners benefiting from the technology concepts.
Speaking on the agreement, Lars Anderson, Director, Propulsion, Wärtsilä Marine, said: “At Wärtsilä we are doing our outmost to support our customers as they look for new technologies to reduce operating costs and improve the environmental sustainability of their operations. We see great potential in this gate rudder technology collaboration. Today’s agreement enables us to support the building of better and more sustainable vessels already today, and Kuribayashi Steamship and the Japanese patent holders are the ideal partners to help us realise this goal.”
The device’s patent holders also include: Kamome Propeller, the National Institute of Maritime, Port and Aviation Technology (NIMPAT, Japan), Yamanaka Shipbuilding, and Professor Noriyuki Sasaki.
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Source: The Motorship