The first cargo ship to be retrofitted with BAR Tech’s WindWings has set sail on open waters.
Mitsubishi Corporation’s Pyxis Ocean, chartered by global food corporation Cargill, has been retrofitted with two WindWings, which are large wing sails measuring up to 37.5 metres in height that can be fitted to the deck of cargo ships to harness the power of the wind. Produced by industrialisation partner Yara Marine Technologies, they are expected to generate average fuel savings of up to 30 per cent 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 its maiden voyage.
According to BAR Technologies, WindWings can save 1.5 tonnes of fuel per WindWing per day on an average global route, with the possibility of saving more on trans-ocean routes.
‘The maritime industry is on a journey to decarbonise – 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 decarbonising 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 demonstrates a step change in attitudes towards technologies that can enable an energy transition for existing vessels. The WindWings project, which is co-funded by the EU as part of the CHEK Horizon 2020 initiative, can help the industry meet carbon-reduction targets by offering a retrofit solution that is capable of decarbonising existing vessels, which is particularly relevant given that 55 per cent of the world’s bulker fleets are up to nine years old.
The performance of the WindWings will be closely monitored over the coming months to further improve their design, operation and performance. The Pyxis Ocean will be used to inform the scale-up and adoption across not only Cargill’s fleet but the wider 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 newbuilds with improved hydrodynamic hull forms.
‘If international shipping is to achieve its ambition of reducing CO2 emissions, then innovation must come to the fore,’ said John Cooper, CEO of BAR Technologies. ‘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 industrialisation partner in Yara Marine Technologies, in order to provide vessel owners and operators with an opportunity to realise these efficiencies.’