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Success story article27 September 2017

Finnish wind power sets sail for new markets

© Norsepower Oy Ltd, 2017

Maritime transport emits around 1 billion tonnes of CO2 each year, which represents around 2.5 % of global greenhouse gas emissions. With the help of the Enterprise Europe Network, a Finnish SME was able to enhance its clean energy solution and help big freighters become greener and more efficient.

The Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution is a spinning cylinder that harnesses wind energy to propel a ship. The award-winning technology enables huge vessels to maintain speed and voyage time while reducing their fuel consumption by up to 20 %.

"It’s the only product on the market that is capturing renewable energy on a moving ship," said Tuomas Riski, CEO and cofounder of Norsepower. "It has great fuel saving potential which helps create its business case."

In 2015, Norsepower completed its first project on board the freighter MS Estraden, which operates between the Netherlands and the UK. Encouraged by its success, Norsepower searched for bigger projects, but struggled to convince potential clients to invest in a technology that was still in its infancy. The SME turned to the Enterprise Europe Network to help prove its Rotor Sail Solution technology can work on a larger scale.

Tailor made support

Two Finnish Network Members, Turku Science Park and Finpro, guided Norsepower through the highly competitive application process of the EU’s Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, a programme designed to help innovative small firms with high growth potential. Their expertise led to Norsepower being awarded EUR 1.6 million to demonstrate a bigger version of their technology.

The Network's support continued after the grant had been awarded. "As key account manager for Norsepower our first action was defining the business gaps," said Olli Mankonen, ‎senior advisor at Turku Science Park Ltd. "We then identified a number of coaches with the right experience and expertise to help the company grow and then Norsepower selected who was most suitable for them."

Norsepower will now trial their bigger Rotor Sail on-board a Viking Line cruise ferry. The 57 565 gross-tonne Viking Grace operates between Turku and Stockholm and is already one of the greenest boats in the maritime industry. With Norsepower’s technology, the vessel will reduce its carbon emissions by around 900 tonnes annually, equivalent to cutting 300 tonnes of Liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel per year.

Brighter horizons

Complementing Turku Science Park's coaching support, fellow Network partner Finpro helped sharpen Norsepower’s international growth plan and promoted the business to potential clients, including the biggest cruise ship operator in Japan. By forging new international partnerships like this, the Network has helped Norsepower grow faster than it could have on its own.

With new market opportunities, and the H2020 funding, Norsepower is continuing to work closely with its trusted Enterprise Europe Network advisers at Finpro and Turku Science Park.

"We work in continuous business consultancy co-operation with the Enterprise Europe Network, aiming to develop our operations and to market our product on international markets," said Riski. "It’s great working with the Network because it makes us more visible on a global level."