FLETTNERFLEET: A fresh breeze for the fleet!

Federally funded project takes Flettner rotor technology for shipping to a new level

Reducing emissions from shipping is the order of the day. Wind auxiliary power units can make an important contribution. The FlettnerFLEET project creates the necessary conditions for the further development of Flettner rotor technology and lays the foundations for the development of ships with this innovative propulsion system. The project consortium, consisting of partners from science and industry, officially started work on the project last week.

Broad data base for further development of the Flettner rotors

The pioneer of the project is the former “MS Fehn Pollux”, equipped with a Flettner rotor from Leer. “The extremely positive results of this prototype installation are now being used to further develop the technology” says Ralf Oltmanns of EcoFlettner GmbH. “With this installation, we already have a good database for upcoming optimisation steps, which we now have to expand even further,” he emphasised during the project kick-off. Other rotor ships, such as the MS E-Ship1 and the MS Annika Braren, will also be included in the project’s database during the course of the measurement campaigns. With the help of this comprehensive data, not only is the operation and design of the rotors optimised, but a cost-efficient and flexible production method is also sought. The aim is to build up and maintain manufacturing expertise in Germany.

Fleet-wide use of Flettner rotors

The aim of the project is to develop a comprehensive methodology for the design of ships with Flettner rotors, in order to enable a wide application of the technology in shipping. To this end, different types of ships will be investigated and optimised for operation with Flettner rotors in cooperation with the shipping companies involved in the project. “A combination of numerical models and physical model tests is used to provide meaningful results,” explains Dr Jochen Marzi from the Hamburg Ship Research Institute. This will make it easier to transfer the results to actual ship designs.

Assistance systems – not a new science but essential for operation

Another element of the project is to optimise the route planning for rotor vessels so that they can make the best use of the wind. However, the aim is not to cover unnecessary extra distances in order to meet schedules. It is also important that the control of the rotors is as simple as possible, but that the systems have a high degree of autonomy and intelligence. This is the only way they can be used as much as possible and thus save fuel. Assistance systems – not a new science, however “We will be looking in detail at the interaction between conventional propulsion and propulsion by the rotors,” reports Dr Michael Potts of SCHOTTEL GmbH on their contribution to the project.essential for operation. The units need to be well coordinated with each other to achieve further fuel savings.


The project “FlettnerFLEET – Development of a comprehensive methodology for the integration of Flettner rotors on different types of ships” is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) as part of the “Maritime Research Programme”.

The project started on 01 January 2023 and has a requested duration of three years. The project consortium consists of the following partners, of which MARIKO GmbH is the project leader:

  • abh Ingenieur-Technik GmbH (Emden)
  • Bureau Veritas SA Zweigniederlassung Hamburg
  • Dirks Elektrotechnik GmbH (Moormerland)
  • Fraunhofer-Institut für Windenergiesysteme IWES (Bremerhaven)
  • Hamburgische Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt HSVA (Hamburg)
  • HB Hunte Engineering GmbH (Oldenburg)
  • Hochschule Emden/Leer (Leer)
  • IBK-fibertec GmbH (Büren)
  • MARIKO GmbH (Leer)
  • SCHOTTEL GmbH (Wismar)

Assoziierte Partner des Projektes sind :

  • Eco Flettner GmbH (Leer)
  • ENERCON Logistic GmbH (Aurich)
  • Fehn Ship Management GmbH & C. KG (Leer)
  • ISSIMS GmbH (Warnemünde)
  • Krey Schiffahrts GmbH & Co. KG (Leer)
  • NSB Niederelbe Schiffahrtsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (Buxtehude)
  • Winterthur Gas & Diesel Ltd. (Winterthur, Schweiz)
30. January 2023


Sören Berg


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