On 22 November, Alfa Laval and Wallenius finalized the 50/50 joint venture that will take Oceanbird wind power solutions from cutting-edge marine concept to commercial reality. With Niclas Dahl as Managing Director, the partnership will make good on the promise of sustainable wind-assisted and wind propulsion.
Driving decarbonization with wind
Through the joint venture, formally named AlfaWall Oceanbird, the two companies will intensify the development of Oceanbird wind power technology. Conceived by Wallenius, this innovative system for vessel propulsion uses wing sails that have more in common with modern planes than traditional sailing ships. Fully applied it can reduce emissions by 90% on the largest ocean-going vessels.
“COP26 put the need for accessible technology in the spotlight,” says Niclas Dahl, Managing Director, Oceanbird, who assumed his position on 1 December. “Decarbonizing shipping is imperative, and wind is a free source of power with a substantial role to play, and minimum need of infrastructure.”
Niclas Dahl comes from the role of Vice President of Marine Separation & Heat Transfer Equipment at Alfa Laval. Overseeing Oceanbird’s development continues a sustainability journey for Dahl, whose long career includes several years of development and launch of Alfa Laval PureBallast, a market-leading ballast water treatment solution that was also created in partnership with Wallenius.
Advancing with industry acclaim
Already, the Oceanbird team has considerable momentum. Oceanbird was among the winners of the Wind Propulsion Innovation Awards 2021, which was organized by the International Windship Association (IWSA) to promote wind-powered shipping during COP26. Selected by jury as a finalist, Oceanbird carried the Wind Propulsion Products Award category in open voting with 40,000 participants.
“We’re proud of the recognition from our marine industry colleagues, which confirms that Oceanbird is on the right path,” says Niclas Dahl. “As the enthusiasm for wind power grows, we’re moving rapidly to build on what we’ve achieved. Our next wing sail prototype is on the horizon, and we’re on target to have a transatlantic car carrier fully propelled by Oceanbird technology in 2025.”
Niclas Dahl expects further vessel designs and retrofit applications to follow, sooner rather than later. “Wind is an opportunity we must seize now,” he concludes. “There’s simply no time to waste in phasing out fossil fuels.”