The same winds that for thousands of years sent ships across the oceans, the trade winds, can still be used to help power modern cargo ships. Most of the ports still in use today developed because they were on these trade wind routes. Two important historical milestones gave rise to the opportunity ship owners/operators have at hand, namely to harness trade winds to advantage: the first is rooted in theoretical physics and the second is predicated on sea-tested technological innovation.

In the mid-nineteenth century, German physicist Heinrich Gustav Magnus discovered that a rotating cylinder exposed to a stream of wind generates a force perpendicular to the direction of the wind. Decades later, in the 1920's, aviation engineer Anton Flettner replaced the masts of a schooner with two rotating cylinders, becoming the first to demonstrate the feasibility of using the Magnus Effect to propel ships. While the Magnuss VOSS™ is a vastly improved version of the Flettner rotor design, serving today's shipping industry with a number of patented innovations, we owe a debt of gratitude to groundwork laid by Messers Magnus and Flettner.




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