Mitsubishi Corporation’s Pyxis Ocean, chartered by Cargill, is the first vessel to be retrofitted with two WindWings – large wing sails measuring up to 37.5 metres in height. The WindWings were designed by BAR Technologies and Yara Marine.

WindWings can be fitted to the deck of cargo ships to harness the power of wind. Produced by industrialisation partner Yara Marine Technologies, they are expected to generate average fuel savings of up to thirty 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.

The WindWings project, which is co-funded by the European Union as part of the CHEK Horizon 2020 initiative, can help the industry meet emissions 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 in age.

Also read: BAR and Yara introduce WindWings to global shipping market

Performance monitoring

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,’ says 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.’

Also read: Canopée fitted with Oceanwings

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 programme under grant agreement No 955286.

By harnessing the power of wind, WindWings can help vessel owners meet new Carbon Intensity Indicator (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 tonnes 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 (HFO) at c$800 per tonne, which will become even more important when saving against future fuels which will undoubtedly cost a lot more.

Picture (top) by Yara Marine Technologies.

Also read: Berge Bulk vessel to be equipped with WindWings in 2023