UROP Openings

Have a UROP opening you would like to submit?

Please fill out the form.

Submit your UROP opening

How to Sail a Rotor Ship (and reduce global shipping greenhouse emissions)




2: Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

Paul Sclavounos

Faculty email:


Apply by:




Project Description

Ships around the world are experiencing a dramatic push to cut emissions by 50% by 2050, leading to significant interest in improvements to propulsion efficiency. One promising technology receiving much renewed attention are Flettner rotors, first developed in the 1920’s, which can reduce fuel burn by 30-50% at a relatively small cost. We are seeking a motivated undergrad thesis or undergraduate thesis or masters student to help develop a velocity prediction program and route-planning model to assess Flettner rotor modifications and optimal operation. This student will work closely with a group of MIT researchers and grad students to build a model of the rotor physics. They will also work to assimilate real-world data to develop a representative model of key global shipping routes to maximize the impact of auxiliary propulsion and minimize carbon emissions.


A strong understanding of fluid mechanics, fundamentals of time series data analysis and MATLAB, Julia or other programming experience. Experience with stochastic processes (probability & statistics) and/or ship hydrodynamics is a plus. No sailing experience necessary!