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Rotor Sails

An auxiliary wind propulsion system to reduce the fuel consumption of commercial shipping

July 2019
Gallery Rotor Sails 1
Gallery Rotor Sails 1


Rotor Sails is an auxiliary wind propulsion system that reduces the fuel consumption of commercial shipping vessels.

The solution is based on the Magnus effect where a rotating cylinder creates a lift force when it encounters airflow created by the wind. This lift force is due to a pressure difference on different sides of the cylinder. The lift force induced by the Magnus effect can be as much as ten times higher than what the conventional sail could provide, making the principle ideal for auxiliary propulsion on large scale commercial vessels. With Rotor Sails it is possible to reduce the fuel consumption of the ship, saving in fuel costs, but also reducing the emissions related to shipping. Fuel consumption of a ship is typically reduced by 5% to up to 20%. The solution is suitable for approximately 25 000 vessels globally including tankers, passengers vessels, and bulk carriers.

Label Date July 10, 2019
From Finland
Maturity stage Small scale commercialization
Looking For Investment subsidies for shipowners investing in environmental technologies

Implementation Stories

Rotor Sails by Norsepower Oy Ltd.
Implemented by Airbus in Leiden (Netherlands) in 2024

In a historical wind propulsion deal, the French shipowner, Louis Dreyfus Armateurs SAS and the Finnish mechanical sail company, Norsepower Oy Ltd, have announced that the Norsepower Rotor Sail™ technology will be installed on the new low-emission RoRo fleet to be chartered to Airbus. The new low-emission vessels, which will be used to ship aircraft components for Airbus, will each be powered by a combination of six 35-meter tall Norsepower Rotor Sails and two dual-fuel engines running on maritime diesel oil and e-methanol. Additionally, routing software will optimise the vessels’ journey across the Atlantic, maximising wind propulsion and avoiding drag caused by adverse ocean conditions.


By 2030, the new fleet will cut Airbus’ annual transatlantic CO2 emissions by a staggering 50% compared to 2023!


The environmental benefits

  • Annual average savings potential of around 300-350 kW for one unit of the largest Rotor Sail model.
  • Annual fuel savings of around 300-400 tons.
  • A reduction of annual CO2 emissions of around 900-1200 tons.

The Financial benefits

  • With an annual economic savings potential in global average wind conditions between 100 000 - 200 000 EUR per Rotor Sail.
  • Typical average fuel savings of around 5-20% per ship.

Activity Region

  • /
  • Headquarters
  • Activity

Company Profile

Norsepower Oy Ltd.

Norsepower is a Finnish cleantech company providing wind propulsion systems to reduce the environmental foot print of the global shipping.

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Headquarters 00180 Helsinki, Finland

Networking Partner

Horizon Results Platform - European Commission

The Horizon Results Platform is a new European Commission platform helping EU Research & Innovation funding beneficiaries to valorise their results with a view to creating socio-economic impact.

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The information set out above, is solely for the purposes of information and the Solar Impulse Foundation does not provide any guarantee as to its authenticity, completeness or accuracy. This information does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation to buy into, transact or to enter into any agreement with any of the parties or persons mentioned above. Potential investors or interested parties are solely responsible for their investment or business decisions and for performing any due diligence required by the circumstances. The innovator Norsepower Oy Ltd. has asserted ownership of the intellectual property rights for images, videos, and content showcased above, affirming full and unrestricted usage rights, and has provided explicit permission for the Solar Impulse Foundation to publish such information designated as "public" in the application form.