Propulsive power contribution of a kite and a Flettner rotor on selected shipping routes

M. Traut, P. Gilbert, C. Walsh, A. Bows, A. Filippone, P. Stansby, R. Wood

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    Wind is a renewable energy source that is freely available on the world’s oceans. As shipping faces the challenge of reducing its dependence on fossil fuels and cutting its carbon emissions this paper seeks to explore the potential for harnessing wind power for shipping. Numerical models of two wind power technologies, a Flettner rotor and a towing kite, are linked with wind data along a set of five trade routes. Wind-generated thrust and propulsive power are computed as a function of local wind and ship velocity. The average wind power contribution on a given route ranges between 193 kW and 373 kW for a single Flettner rotor and between 127 kW and 461 kW for the towing kite. The variability of the power output from the Flettner rotor is shown to be smaller than that from the towing kite while, due to the different dependencies on wind speed and direction, the average power contribution from a Flettner rotor is higher than that from the kite on some routes and lower on others.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)362-372
    Number of pages10
    JournalApplied Energy
    Issue number1
    Early online date16 Aug 2013
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


    • wind energy
    • shipping
    • environmental analysis


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