The WHISPER project has been granted EUR 9.2 million in funding from Horizon Europe. Goal is to develop a fully modular retrofit solution, comprising a wind-solar hybrid power system and a tilting wingsail system to provide wind-assisted propulsion.

WHISPER is a four-year innovation project and comprises fourteen partners. The goal of the project is to develop a solution that can significantly reduce emissions from the long-distance maritime industry. WHISPER aims to demonstrate around thirty per cent fuel savings on a retrofit bulk carrier and more than fifteen per cent on a retrofit container ship.

The fourteen partnes will develop a fully modular retrofit solution, comprising a wind-solar hybrid power system to significantly reduce auxiliary engine emissions and a tilting wingsail system to provide wind-assisted propulsion, thereby significantly reducing main engine fuel consumption and emissions.

María Kristín Þrastardóttir, co-founder of Sidewind: ‘By combining and developing three innovative wind and solar technologies, and creating a modular, retrofit solution, we can lower the emissions of container and tank ships by fifteen to thirty per cent. If successful and widely adopted, WHISPER could reduce the emissions of the long-distance maritime transport industry by what equals the emissions of entire countries.’

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First tiltable Oceanwings

French company AYRO will be responsible for supplying its wind-assisted ship propulsion system called Oceanwings.

‘In the current context of fuel price volatility and the increasingly stringent environmental regulations with the implementation of the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) this year for the maritime industry, we see the WHISPER project as a catalyst for retrofitting the commercial vessels with breakthrough green technologie,’ says Marc Van Peteghem, chairman and co-founder of AYRO. ‘WHISPER will enable AYRO to launch its first tiltable Oceanwings, addressing new segments such as the bulk carriers.’

Solbian, based in Italy, on the other hand, will be involved to spread ‘the utilisation of solar energy on cargo ships’. Luca Bonci, Solbian CEO: ‘After years of experience in creating solar solutions for any kind of vessel, from small sailboats to ferries, we trust that joining forces between companies active in renewables (solar and wind) and marine experts will now give a strong impulse to the adoption of clean energy sources in maritime transport, for a better future.’

Verkís is WHISPER project leader and will provide the overall technical system design, lifecycle cost analysis (LCA) and aerodynamic simulations.

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WHISPER partners

The fourteen partners in the WHISPER project are Verkís Consulting Engineers, Sidewind, AYRO, Solbian Energie Alternative, Canoe, Ant Topic, Dotcom, Samskip, Nav-Tech, Stirling Design International, BBA/Fjeldco, Lloyd’s Register, Athygli, and Inspiralia.

Picture: Oceanwings (by Ayro).

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