Japanese patent holders have reached an agreement with technology group Wärtsilä to develop their innovative gate rudder technology globally in partnership with the country’s Kuribayashi Steamship Co.
The joint patent holders include Japan’s National Institute of Maritime, Port and Aviation Technology, Yamanaka Shipbuilding, and Noriyuki Sasaki, a professor of naval hydrodynamics at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.
The agreement allows Wärtsilä to fully integrate gate rudders within its propulsion product designs for new builds and existing vessels beyond Japan.
Wärtsilä says that the technology will “realize synergies in capital and operational savings for ship owners by increasing fuel efficiency, improving manoeuvrability and course stability in both calm and rough sea conditions, while also reducing noise and vibration”.
“Our agreement with Wärtsilä is a major step forward in introducing gate rudder technology to the global maritime market – helping to creates initiatives for sustainable shipping and reduced operating costs," says Sadatomo Kuribayashi, chairman of the Kuribayashi Steamship Co.
Instead of a traditional rudder arrangement in the propeller slipstream, the gate rudder is a twin arrangement around the propeller – allowing improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.
The concept is said to be applicable to all current vessels equipped with conventional propellers.