€6m project to trial greener, more efficient ship propulsion and steering system underway

A greener, more efficient rudder system, designed at the University of Strathclyde, will be demonstrated as part of a €6 million EU-funded research project.

The GATERS project led by the University of Strathclyde under the Horizon 2020 Fund, will see the ‘gate rudder’ – a novel propulsion and steering system – retro-fitted to a commercial vessel as part of a trial.

Unlike a traditional rudder which sits behind a ship’s propellers to steer the vessel, the U-shaped gate rudder – essentially two separate rudders – sits astride the propeller which, as a result, acts like a nozzle around the propeller and generates additional thrust.
Both rudders can be independently controlled to provide steering better as well as helping vessels move sideways – called crabbing – when docking, for example.

In early trials, the gate rudder has shown ‘remarkable’ fuel-saving potential of 15% in calm waters, while this can be as high as 30% in rough seas and improved maneuverability.

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