Airbus will equip one of the vessels it uses to transport aircraft subassemblies with wind-assisted propulsion technology. Three 22-metre-high bound4blue eSAILs will be fitted to the Ville de Bordeaux ahead of a six-month performance monitoring period starting early 2024.

The vessel in question is chartered from shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs. The Ville de Bordeaux regularly ferries A320 Family subassemblies from Europe to Mobile in the United States for final assembly.

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Bound4blue eSAILS

The eSAIL, developed by the Spain-based firm bound4blue, creates as much as six to seven times more lift than a conventional rigid sail. It consists of a sail-like vertical surface and an electric-powered air suction system that helps the airflow to re-adhere to the sail, generating additional lift and thereby reducing the load on the ship’s main engines.

Fitting the eSAILs on the Ville de Bordeaux supports Airbus’ commitment to halve CO2 emissions from its maritime operations by 2030, compared to a 2015 baseline. According to bound4blue estimations, these eSAILs could deliver fuel and CO2 emissions savings of up to 560 tonnes and 1800 tonnes respectively for this ship annually.

The installation of eSAILs on the Ville de Bordeaux is co-funded by the European Union and marks the first-ever fixed suction sail installation on a RoRo ship.

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