343: Wind-powered ships


The global shipping sector emitted just over a billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2018, equivalent to around 3% of global emissions – a level that exceeds the climate impact of Germany’s entire economy. Fossil fuel engines have replaced traditional and sustainable energy sources such as the wind


Wind-powered ships

Shipping company Wallenius Marine is developing a ship called Oceanbird, which could transport 7,000 cars and trucks across the Atlantic propelled only by the wind.

The concept called wPCC (wind Powered Car Carrier),which is essentially an outsized sailboat, would be twice as high as the largest comparable vessel due to the five 80-metre-tall sails that protrude from its hull. 5 rigs with 80 metres tall wing sails for forward propulsion. These purportedly would make it the world’s largest wind-powered vessel, capable of travelling across the ocean to the US at a speed of 10 knots and with a total journey time of 12 days.

According to Wallenius Marine, this is only four days longer than a carrier powered by fossil fuel while emitting 90 per cent less CO2 in the process.

The main partners in the project are Wallenius Marine, Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology and SSPA. It is supported by the Swedish Transport Administration, which has allocated SEK 27 million for the three-year development project during 2019-2022. Launch date is scheduled for 2024.

Costa Rica
Ceiba is the first vessel conceived by Danielle Doggett of SailCargo, a company trying to prove that zero-carbon shipping is possible, and commercially viable.

Built largely of timber at the AstilleroVerde shipyard, Ceiba (= kapok tree) combines both very old and very new technology: sailing masts stand alongside solar panels, two high-efficiency 120 horsepower electric motors and batteries. The variable-pitch propellers will re-generate solar power when the ship is under sail by working as underwater turbines to charge batteries and meet onboard electrical needs

Ceiba, the first in the SailCargo Line fleet, should be navigating by 2021 and operating by 2022, when she will begin transporting up to 250 tonnes of cargo between Costa Rica and Canada

VPLP design’s 121m RORO vessel Canopée which transports components of the Ariane 6 rocket from Europe to its launch pad in French Guiana, is fitted with four 30 m high Oceanwings providing a total surface area of 1,452 m². These automated and reefable soft wingsails assist the ship’s main propulsion system, dual fuel engines (LNG and MDO), to reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by an average of 30% to 35%.

A new company, Ayro, has been set up for the specific purpose of applying Oceanwings to hydrofoil ferry boats.

Led by aeronautical engineer Cristina Aleixendri, a team at bound4blue, based in Rubi in Catalunya has developed and patented fully foldable concertina wingsails that ensure safety in rough weather, and at port or in daily operation; more manoeuvrability thanks to the rotation capability which makes the system more efficient and autonomous operation.

They are currently integrating an 8x20m unit into the 37m Balueiro Segundo fishing vessel located at WCCA – Panama Canal. Bound4blue is also working on an alternative application of the wingsail technology to design in the future a boat propelled by these wingsails, capable of producing hydrogen and oxygen by means of the electrolysis of seawater in a clean and cost-efficient way.

Discover Solution 344: “Precious Plastic” recycling machine

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