Wind powered cargo ships reduce carbon emissions

Wind powered cargo ships reduce carbon emissions

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Wind powered cargo ships reduce carbon emissions

Cargill and BAR Technologies’ innovation, BAR Tech WindWings by Yara Marine, has set sail on open waters. Pyxis Ocean, a cargo ship fitted with special sails, set off this month on its first voyage testing how wind power can cut emissions and energy usage in the shipping sector.

Pyxis Ocean, chartered by Cargill, is the first vessel to be retrofitted with two WindWings, which are large wing sails measuring up to 123 feet high in and are fitted to the cargo ship deck. The wing sails are expected to generate average fuel savings of up to 30% on new-build vessels. This could be even higher if used in combination with alternative fuels. 

The installation of the wings took place at the COSCO shipyard in China and the Pyxis Ocean is now on the water, sailing from  China to Brazil.

“The maritime industry is on a journey to decarbonize—it's not an easy one, but it is an exciting one,” says Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill’s Ocean transportation business.  “At Cargill, we have a responsibility to pioneer decarbonizing solutions across all our supply chains to meet our customer’s needs and the needs of the planet. A technology like WindWings doesn’t come without risk, and as an industry leader – in partnership with  visionary shipowner Mitsubishi Corporation - we are not afraid to invest, take those risks, and be transparent with our learnings to help our partners in maritime transition to a more sustainable future.”

The installation is a step-change towards technologies that can enable an energy transition for existing vessels. 

The WindWings project, which is co-funded by the European Union as part of the CHEK Horizon 2020 initiative, can help the industry meet targets by offering a retrofit solution that is capable of decarbonizing existing vessels, which is particularly relevant given that 55% of the world’s bulker fleets are up to nine years in age.

The performance of the WindWings will be closely monitored over the coming months to further improve their design, operation, and performance, with the aim that the Pyxis Ocean will be used to inform the scale-up and adoption across not only Cargill’s fleet but the industry. 

BAR Technologies and Yara Marine Technologies are already planning to build hundreds of wings over the next four years and BAR Technologies is also researching new builds with improved hydrodynamic hull forms.

“If international shipping is to achieve its ambition of reducing CO2 emissions, then innovation must come to the fore. Wind is a near-marginal cost-free fuel and the opportunity for reducing emissions, alongside significant efficiency gains in vessel operating costs, is substantial. Today is the culmination of years of pioneering research, where we’ve invested in our unique wind sail technology and sought out a skilled industrialization partner in Yara Marine Technologies, in order to provide vessel owners and operators with an opportunity to realize these efficiencies,” says John Cooper, CEO, BAR Technologies.


More about the WindWing Project

  • The WindWing project is part of a project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 955286.
  • By harnessing wind power, WindWings can help vessel owners meet new CII rules. As wind power is not only zero emissions but is also non-depleting and hugely predictable, it offers significant efficiency gains in vessel operating costs. 
  • On an average global route, WindWings can save 1.5 tons of fuel per WindWing per day - with the possibility of saving more on trans-ocean routes. This can translate into vessel owners saving heavy fuel oil at $800 per ton, which will become even more important when saving against future, likely more expensive fuels.

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