Flettner Rotor System - Ships Nostalgia
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Flettner Rotor System

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  #1  
Old 15th November 2018, 12:05
seaman38 seaman38 is offline  
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Flettner Rotor System

Have any of our brethren sailed with the Flettner Rotor System, tall rotating cylinders on deck reputed to save fuel consumption. Have watched a few videos and for those on the bridge a noisy experience. A bulker had four fitted on the starboard side all taller than the bridge, it would appear that no thought had been given to safe navigation with so many obstructions on the stb'd side, preventing a clear vision to what a navigator could consider his most dangerous side having to give way to vessels (if he can see them, yes I know we have radar!) approaching on that side. Just the thoughts of an old codger
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  #2  
Old 5th January 2019, 14:14
alaric alaric is online now  
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Pity there has been no response to this post.
The theory is sound and the rotors do generate a propulsive force that helps power the ship.
There have been a number of experimental rotor ships at sea, the first being the Bruckau in 1924, almost 100 years ago. Vague claims of 20-25% reductions in fuel consumption have been made, but very few, if any authoritive reports have been published in all that time.
There must be a big snag, 25% fuel savings are too good not to be utilized in today's carbon reduction world. There must be more to it than not having a good view from the bridge. Piling containers far too high seems to be acceptable.
It would be good to hear from any member who has sea-going rotor experience. Viking and Maersk have, or are about to have rotor ships at sea according to Wiki.

Last edited by alaric; 5th January 2019 at 14:27..
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  #3  
Old 5th January 2019, 16:13
price price is offline  
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Hello Alaric, I posted in a previous forum about Flettner Rotor Ships. A photo and short account can be found in my photos (Price) 20th. sept 2007. with a photo of my late first cousin taken aboard one of the ships in Keil Harbour about 1925
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  #4  
Old 5th January 2019, 19:16
seaman38 seaman38 is offline  
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Originally Posted by price View Post
Hello Alaric, I posted in a previous forum about Flettner Rotor Ships. A photo and short account can be found in my photos (Price) 20th. sept 2007. with a photo of my late first cousin taken aboard one of the ships in Keil Harbour about 1925
Thanks for your post, interesting (astounded I managed to find it!). It would be interesting to hear from someone who has sailed with the modern version, because the clips I saw it seemed it did the bridge watch no favours.

Also be interesting to hear from someone other than Flettner about the actual, rather than theoretical fuel savings, as they quote 25%, but that is open, as surely that would depend upon the vessel's co-efficient of fineness. Latest research shows that the bulbous bow increases fuel consumption if a vessel completes a passage on 'slow steaming' in fact Maersk put new shorter bulbous bows on some of their current vessels, as decided to operate them at 16/17 knots instead of 21/22 knots and apparently fuel consumption has gone down dramatically, which it didn't with the original bulbous bow.

The bulbous bow is certainly a mixed blessing, in the old days hitting a vessel with your bow usually meant damage above the waterline due to the flare and vessel may be able to continue on passage, but with the projecting bulbous bow the damaged is now invariably below the waterline of the receiving vessel causing more severe damage where-in the receiving vessel may not be able proceed on passage.

Its called progress.
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  #5  
Old 5th January 2019, 20:09
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Stephen J. Card Stephen J. Card is offline  
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Just found this original post! Most interesting. I spoke to a shipowner two weeks ago and he said they were thinking about a new ship with the Flettner system. Anyhow this all makes good reading... especially 'hands on' information.

Thanks.

Stephen
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  #6  
Old 5th January 2019, 20:52
alaric alaric is online now  
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Some interesting up to date reading; http://en.marigreen.eu/ecoflettner-installation
Positive comments but short on hard data.
EU funded.
Go to bottom of page and scroll up to read.
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  #7  
Old 6th January 2019, 10:51
seaman38 seaman38 is offline  
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Originally Posted by alaric View Post
Some interesting up to date reading; http://en.marigreen.eu/ecoflettner-installation
Positive comments but short on hard data.
EU funded.
Go to bottom of page and scroll up to read.
As you say interesting reading, but it would seem conjecture about the efficiency, surely if they were monitoring it as they say, they would have produce some figures no matter how infintissimal the improvement. Doubt the quartermaster would see many leading marks with that monstrosity stuck on the f'cle. However full marks for trying
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  #8  
Old 6th January 2019, 11:56
alaric alaric is online now  
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Have just been digging a bit deeper to find;
A short presentation given recently by Prof. Capt. Michael Vahs who is heading up the MV Fehn Pollux rotor ship project.
All good common sense stuff which I don't argue against, but I wish he would actually publish the data to back up his claims and projections.
If we see a sudden boom in sales of retro-fit Flettner kits we will know the claims are true, but until then I still feel there is a snag that we are not being told about.
Could it be that most of the savings are being lost by having to steer a constant zig-zag course to a) catch a favourable wind, and/or b) to actually see where the ship is heading?

Last edited by alaric; 6th January 2019 at 12:00..
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  #9  
Old 6th January 2019, 12:04
alaric alaric is online now  
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The U-tube link is www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XdCEubz_R4
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  #10  
Old 6th January 2019, 12:40
seaman38 seaman38 is offline  
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Originally Posted by alaric View Post
Thank you for posting, interesting.

48 minutes of conjecture, with no facts, as far as I could ascertain (as usual I stand to be corrected). I wonder how many were still awake at the end of his monotone presentation.

The illustration of the passenger vessel (projected for 2050!) with all those rotors on the top sun/promenade deck begs the question, when booking do you get a supply of free ear plugs.

On larger vessels I wonder how much of the DWCC is lost because of these large structures on deck, and from a stability point of view will larger ballast tanks be need, thereby possibly cutting down the hold cubic capacity.

On a lighter note, if he uses all the coconuts in the Pacific for bio fuel, where are we going to get coconut cream to put in our curries. He says there will be an almost endless supply, but surely not if all vessels in the region use coco-bio
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  #11  
Old 15th January 2019, 11:44
alaric alaric is online now  
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I have just posted a photo of the Rotor assisted Ro-Ro Estraden.
Should meet with Seanam38's approval as the positioning of the rotors does not obscure the view from the bridge and it is probably the ideal size for the Ramsgate service?
To take my mind off Brexit votes, thinking about this layout led me to consider using the rotors as funnels. Aesthetically more pleasing than many modern ships which have a variety of ugly pipes sticking out of their stacks, but more importantly, can any propulsive effect be gained from this arrangement?
Adrian Newey, one of this countries outstanding Engineers has been able to generate considerable downforce (=faster cornering) by directing engine exhaust energy in his Formula 1 designs.
Motor racing now employs hundreds of clever aerodynamists, all trying to gain fractions of a second advantage in reducing lap times. If some moved over to shipping and applied their knowledge and ingenuity to rotor funnel design real progress could be possible?
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  #12  
Old 15th January 2019, 13:12
seaman38 seaman38 is offline  
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#11 Yes the F1 boys are certainly amongst the leaders in aerodynamic design, perhaps we should tell Flettner
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  #13  
Old 19th January 2019, 12:09
skilly57 skilly57 is offline  
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With regard to post #4 and Seaman 38's comment about the bulbous bow consumption, in November 2000 I spent 3 weeks at the testing tank at the AMC in Tasmania. We were operating a self-discharging bulk cement carrier built in 1978/79 by Robb Caledon's in Dundee. The ship's original spec stipulated the fitment of a bulbous bow, but then that item was deleted.
With fuel prices rising at the turn of the century, the then owners were looking for ways of reducing fuel consumption, so I got nominated to investigate.
Got a 2 metre long model of the hull made off the lines plans (a beautiful job, by a Tasmanian boat builder). The AMC's large computer was set to work doing computational fluid dynamics calculations to determine 2 bulb sizes to be trialled.
Preparing for the tank test runs, loaded the model down to normal marks, and off we set down the tank, with myself & the operator sitting on the carriage above. In total we did 94 runs, the first set with no bulb, the second set with the small bulb, and the 3rd set of runs with the largest bulb. Scale speeds ranged from 7 to 17 knots.

The amount of computer data being downloaded from the strain gauges attached to the hull was incredible. The results showed the larger bulb gave us a 7.1% reduction in resistance at service speed of 14 knots.

Then I asked for all the runs to be repeated, with the model in ballast condition. But why, was the reply. Because I asked for this to be done months ago in our early correspondence on the test format, but the AMC people thought I was over the top I think!

The results were stunning! With either bulb fitted, there was a large increase in fuel consumption at all speeds up to 13.5 knots! The resistance increase was 25% at 13.5 knots with the largest bulb fitted. It transpired that as soon as the top of the bulb remained dry, fuel savings disappeared as the bulb became ineffective! The bulbs were only effective over a very narrow speed band (3 knots range), and only when the vessel is in a loaded condition that will keep the bulb continually immersed.

I had all the certified steel waiting in NZ to do the installation at the imminent docking, but immediately cancelled the manufacture of the bulb. It turns out those naval architects at Robb Caledon knew that vessels that spend half their time in ballast derive no benefits from fitment of a bulbous bow, and so had deleted the bulb from the original spec.

Now, I look at all the ships I see running around with their bulb tops up and dry and wonder if they realise how much fuel they are wasting!

Model photos attached.


First photo shows model of the hull as built, and as she still is today (she has just arrived in Iceland with a cargo of cement from Aalborg). Built in Scotland - keel laid 41 years ago, and still going strong!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Existing bow.jpg (157.8 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg 1150 & 2150 bulb shapes.jpg (131.2 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg Std bow14 kt resistance test.jpg (150.4 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg 1150 & 2150 bulbs_front view.jpg (136.9 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg Golden Bay_flipped horiz..jpg (230.4 KB, 22 views)

Last edited by skilly57; 20th January 2019 at 04:27..
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  #14  
Old 19th January 2019, 14:24
seaman38 seaman38 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skilly57 View Post
With regard to post #4 and Seaman 38's comment about the bulbous bow consumption, in November 2000 I spent 3 weeks at the testing tank at the AMC in Tasmania.

First photo shows model of the hull as built, and as she still is today (she has just arrived in Iceland with a cargo of cement from Aalborg). Built in Scotland - keel laid 41 years ago, and still going strong!
Thanks for an interesting post Skilly, nice to hear from someone with first hand experience, I think the BB became a fashion statement as much as anything else, I remember reading years ago that it was not all things to all men, but the Naval Architect who presented the paper was told that his calculations may be suspect, bet he's laughing now.
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  #15  
Old 20th January 2019, 21:45
alaric alaric is online now  
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See #11 .
As Adrian Newey is probably too busy at the moment I have been giving the rotor funnel idea some thought myself and have passed it along to Norsepower for their views. Norsepower is the company who did the Ro-Ro Estraden installation and have also got Rotorsails at sea on a Viking ferry and a Maersk tanker.
For Attn. Tuomas Riski, CEO Norsepower.

Some pipe dreaming from a retired Engineer who admires the good work your company is achieving improving shipping efficiency and environmental standards.

It occurs to me that further gains are possible by eliminating conventional funnels and utilizing rotors in their place. It is envisaged that exhaust gases are directed into the base of the rotor and are released at the top via vectoring nozzles which would control the rotational direction and speed of the rotor.

This arrangement has a number of potential benefits;
•Electrical power to spin the rotors reduced or eliminated.
•Cleaner airflow onto/off rotor.
•Generating deck space.
•Exhaust gas released at higher level.
•Improved aesthetics.
I appreciate that one of the major selling points of your system is it’s basic simplicity, and my proposals would undoubtedly increase complexity and first cost. However, the technology is proven (Harrier jump jet) and if these nozzles prove to be capable of eliminating the electric drive altogether the extra costs would be reasonable if applied to a new build rather than a retro fit project.

I would be interested to hear your views on the concept, could it be a viable system, or should it remain a pipe dream?

Should you decide to investigate the proposal further I do not want to have any involvement, but if a nozzle rotor ever gets to sea I would love to be on board to see how it sails. I will bring my own earplugs!

Last edited by alaric; 20th January 2019 at 22:49..
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Old 20th January 2019, 22:43
seaman38 seaman38 is offline  
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#15 . Thanks for that, lets hope that they have the courtesy to reply, with thanks for showing an interest and perhaps an invitation to an installation.

I am surprised by the lack of comment or observations by our fellow seafaring members on this and similar subjects, as although being retired for many years developments in our industry still hold my interest.

Whoever thought that we would see vessels with reverse bows and other features reminiscent of illustrations first seen in the adventures Dan Dare so many moons ago which many naval architects of the day would have considered pure fantasy and impossible to achieve.
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  #17  
Old 21st January 2019, 09:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alaric View Post
See #11 .
As Adrian Newey is probably too busy at the moment I have been giving the rotor funnel idea some thought myself and have passed it along to Norsepower for their views. Norsepower is the company who did the Ro-Ro Estraden installation and have also got Rotorsails at sea on a Viking ferry and a Maersk tanker.
For Attn. Tuomas Riski, CEO Norsepower.

Some pipe dreaming from a retired Engineer who admires the good work your company is achieving improving shipping efficiency and environmental standards.

It occurs to me that further gains are possible by eliminating conventional funnels and utilizing rotors in their place. It is envisaged that exhaust gases are directed into the base of the rotor and are released at the top via vectoring nozzles which would control the rotational direction and speed of the rotor.

This arrangement has a number of potential benefits;
•Electrical power to spin the rotors reduced or eliminated.
•Cleaner airflow onto/off rotor.
•Generating deck space.
•Exhaust gas released at higher level.
•Improved aesthetics.
I appreciate that one of the major selling points of your system is it’s basic simplicity, and my proposals would undoubtedly increase complexity and first cost. However, the technology is proven (Harrier jump jet) and if these nozzles prove to be capable of eliminating the electric drive altogether the extra costs would be reasonable if applied to a new build rather than a retro fit project.

I would be interested to hear your views on the concept, could it be a viable system, or should it remain a pipe dream?

Should you decide to investigate the proposal further I do not want to have any involvement, but if a nozzle rotor ever gets to sea I would love to be on board to see how it sails. I will bring my own earplugs!
There is a bit of "Form" associated with this type of idea, I understand it was quite noisy!! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairey_Rotodyne
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Old 21st January 2019, 10:20
seaman38 seaman38 is offline  
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There is a bit of "Form" associated with this type of idea, I understand it was quite noisy!! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairey_Rotodyne
Hmmm! did I not mention that in #1
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Old 21st January 2019, 10:35
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Hmmm! did I not mention that in #1
Not this one
with exhaust bleed to spin the rotors which is where we have gone now.
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Old 21st January 2019, 10:36
alaric alaric is online now  
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#17
The Rotodyne was in mind when I mentioned that I would bring my own ear defenders Duncan.
Not really necessary in my case because I am already deaf, caused by diesel exhaust gas being expanded through a nozzle. Turbochargers.
But I accept that noise is the most difficult technical problem that will need to be overcome if the concept is taken up, even on non passenger ships.
However, the Fairy design actually had jet engines in the rotor tips, I am suggesting directing existing exhaust gas trough nozzles. Not quite in the same league regarding noise generation but still a problem I fear.

Last edited by alaric; 21st January 2019 at 10:53..
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Old 21st January 2019, 11:29
seaman38 seaman38 is offline  
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Not this one D)
Whoops sorry ! must take my own medicine and read properly
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Old 21st January 2019, 13:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alaric View Post
#17
The Rotodyne was in mind when I mentioned that I would bring my own ear defenders Duncan.
Not really necessary in my case because I am already deaf, caused by diesel exhaust gas being expanded through a nozzle. Turbochargers.
But I accept that noise is the most difficult technical problem that will need to be overcome if the concept is taken up, even on non passenger ships.
However, the Fairy design actually had jet engines in the rotor tips, I am suggesting directing existing exhaust gas trough nozzles. Not quite in the same league regarding noise generation but still a problem I fear.
The thing that has always interested me is how the fuel and air connections between the rotor assembly and fuselage worked - the internet is strangely silent on this?
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Old 21st January 2019, 21:44
alaric alaric is online now  
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The thing that has always interested me is how the fuel and air connections between the rotor assembly and fuselage worked - the internet is strangely silent on this?
The whole design seems to have worked very well considering the lack of modern aids available in the 1950s. Have been looking on the internet but can't find any detail on the rotor head.
Like you, my memory was that the Rotordyne project was scrapped because of the high noise levels, but the 4 part film on U-tube suggests that this was not the case. The film makers say it was government directed industry re-organisation that killed off this promising concept. The film was made by Fairy Aviation and this opinion may well be a little biased?
But maybe, just maybe we might yet have exhaust driven rotor sails helping to save our planet?
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Old 21st January 2019, 22:00
Dartskipper Dartskipper is offline  
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Originally Posted by alaric View Post
The whole design seems to have worked very well considering the lack of modern aids available in the 1950s. Have been looking on the internet but can't find any detail on the rotor head.
Like you, my memory was that the Rotordyne project was scrapped because of the high noise levels, but the 4 part film on U-tube suggests that this was not the case. The film makers say it was government directed industry re-organisation that killed off this promising concept. The film was made by Fairy Aviation and this opinion may well be a little biased?
But maybe, just maybe we might yet have exhaust driven rotor sails helping to save our planet?
Fairey Aviation were also heavily involved with developing high speed interceptors, working on the successful FD2 supersonic research aircraft. That was another opportunity lost, as due to restrictions on sonic booms over the land, they flew it in France and it is alleged that it inspired the Mirage designed by Marcel Dassault. There is a strong similarity with the designs. At the same time they worked on larger aircraft, in competition with other companies, so perhaps the Rotodyne became surplus to requirements and funding ran out.
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Old 22nd January 2019, 09:57
alaric alaric is online now  
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Fairey Aviation were also heavily involved with developing high speed interceptors, working on the successful FD2 supersonic research aircraft. That was another opportunity lost, as due to restrictions on sonic booms over the land, they flew it in France and it is alleged that it inspired the Mirage designed by Marcel Dassault. There is a strong similarity with the designs. At the same time they worked on larger aircraft, in competition with other companies, so perhaps the Rotodyne became surplus to requirements and funding ran out.
Yes Roy, we discussed this probable case of industrial espionage on 18th July last year, on the other site.
Westland killed off the Rotodyne?
Or was it really the noise?

Last edited by alaric; 22nd January 2019 at 10:32..
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