Ships transporting iron ore from Poli-USP and the company Vale – Jornal da USP

Commitment to the environment made a partnership to develop a prototype that reduces the emission of greenhouse gases in the transport of iron ores

by Fernanda Real

Technology Moment – USP

Technology Moment #75: Ships transporting iron ore from Poli-USP and Vale


The evolution of transport modes resulted in a project developed from the partnership between Escola Politécnica da USP and the company Vale, in addition to an award at the 2021 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, COP26, a potential highlight. The technology used is based on the use of rotating sails, developed by Vale and improved from the analysis of a Numerical Test Tank. The result was a system that allows for the reduction of operating costs, fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The search for the development of the project followed environmental and economic issues. It emerged from a research and development program called Ecoshipin 2017. Since then, he has aimed to develop and accelerate the maturity of technologies to reduce emissions in international navigation, as well described by engineer Rodrigo Bermelho.

The engineer also adds: “The first objective is environmental, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but we also believe that in the long term you can bring many economic benefits, through the development of solutions that are adapted to the type of characteristics and also to reduce fuel consumption, which is a very important component of the total freight cost”.

The commitment to the environment was conceived with the mechanism developed by the researchers, when assembling the mechanism attached to the boat: the rotating cylinders. Professor Claudio Mueller Prado Sampaio, head of the Department of Naval and Oceanic Engineering at Poli USP, details the project processes, which, unlike cargo ships, avoids the complete need to burn fossil fuels, precisely because it combines technology with wind propulsion. .

This combination was possible thanks to the so-called rotating cylinders, which work on the same “principle of sailing vessels”, as explained by Professor Claudio Mueller. Then, depending on the wind conditions, it is possible to generate a force that demands less combustion energy and an engine with less power and consumption of fossil fuels. Numeric Proof Tanks were used for monitoring the prototype, which allowed a closer monitoring of the prototype.

What still needs to be done

Technical and marketing issues still need to be resolved, so that more vessels are contemplated with the design of rotating cylinders. Engineer Rodrigo Bermelho highlights that one of the main challenges encountered in implementing the technology was adapting it to port facilities, as well as training the team that will be put in touch with the cylinders.

It is still necessary to develop the validation part of “efficiency gains”, part that he says is crucial for the project to be scaled on other vessels: “I think that, from now on, we will see more ships installing different types of technology to use that energy [eólica] which is at the origin of navigation”, concludes Rodrigo Bermelho.

Technology moment
Script Editing: Denis Pacheco
sound editing: Guilherme Fiori
general edition: Cinderella Caldeira
Time: Biweekly, Tuesdays, at 8:05 am

The Technology Moment airs on Rádio USP, fortnightly, Mondays, at 8:05 am – São Paulo 93.7 MHz and Ribeirão Preto 107.9 MHz and also on the main podcast aggregators Watch all episodes of Momento Tecnologia

Leave a Comment