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Vale prepping to launch world’s largest wind-powered ore ship

Vale S.A. plans to begin trials on the wind-powered Sohar Max, which is designed to carry up to 400,000 metric tonnes of cargo, in 2024
The Sohar Max, a Vale ship, is to be refitted and tested with rotor wind sails next year.

You won't see it on the Great Lakes, but a cargo ship belonging to Vale S.A. has become the largest ore carrier in the world to adopt wind power. 

A company news release said Vale has signed an agreement to have rotor sails installed on the Valemax-class ship, Sohar Max, which is 362 metres long, 65 metres wide and able to carry up to 400,000 metric tonnes of cargo.

This technology, developed by British manufacturer Anemoi, uses wind propulsion to provide energy efficiency gains and reduce emissions. The adaptation work on the Solar Max ship is due to be completed in the second quarter of 2024, when trials will begin, said the company.

Vale said along with the economic payoff for the cost of running the ship, there was also a significant reduction in the carbon emissions for that ship.

The five cylindrical rotors on the Valemax ship will be around 35 meters high and five meters in diameter. That is twice the windage area of the sails used on the previous Guaiba Max-class ships (which have a capacity of 325,000 tons).The new technology will allow efficiency gains of up to six per cent and cut CO2 equivalent emissions by up to 3,000 tons per ship per year, said the company.

The Sohar Max is part of the Valemax fleet of very large ore carriers (VLOC) owned or chartered by Vale S.A. to carry iron ore from Brazil to ports in Europe and Asia. 

While Vale is primarily an iron mining company on the international market, it is also a significant nickel and copper miner and operates the largest mining and refining operations in Sudbury.


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