Pioneering Wind-Powered Cargo Ship Sets Sail On Maiden Voyage

A collaboration between Cargill, BAR Technologies, MC Shipping and Yara Marine Technologies has the potential to decarbonize bulk cargo vessels by up to 30 per cent

Cargill and BAR Technologies’ groundbreaking WindWings innovation sets sail on open waters, testing new technology that will bring cutting edge wind propulsion to commercial shipping for the first time.

WindWings
Credits: Pyxis Ocean Media

Mitsubishi Corporation’s Pyxis Ocean, chartered by Cargill, is the first vessel to be retrofitted with two WindWings, which are large wing sails measuring up to 45 meters in height that can be fitted to the deck of bulk cargo ships to harness the power of wind.

Manufactured by industrialization partner Yara Marine Technologies, they are expected to generate average fuel savings of up to 30 percent on new build vessels, which 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, conducting her maiden voyage.

“The maritime industry is on a journey to decarbonize—it’s not an easy one, but it is an exciting one,” said 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 MC Shipping – 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 demonstrates a step-change in attitudes towards technologies that can enable an energy transition for existing vessels. The maritime industry faces a huge challenge to reduce average CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 and is working towards 50% by 2050.

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

The performance of the sails 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 is already planning to build hundreds of wings over the next four years and is also researching new builds with differing hydrodynamic 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 manufacturing partner in Yara Marine Technologies, in order to provide vessel owners and operators with an opportunity to realize these efficiencies,” said John Cooper, Chief Executive Officer, BAR Technologies.

Press Release 

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