Bound4blue has installed three 22-metre-high eSAILs on the ro-ro Ville de Bordeaux, from French shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs. According to the company it marks the first-ever fixed suction sail installation on a ro-ro ship.

Following installation of eSAIL foundations in Poland in November 2023, the 5200-DWT Ville de Bordeaux (built 2004) has emerged from a short stopover in a shipyard in Vigo, Spain, with its three brand-new, 22-metre-high eSAILs in place. The verticalisation manoeuvre and connection to the reinforcement of the suction sails was completed in less than two days last week.

The Ville de Bordeaux is on charter to Airbus from French shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) and used to transport A320 Family components from Europe for final assembly at the aircraft manufacturer’s US factory in Mobile, Alabama. The fast installation process involved minimal downtime for the vessel. It departed Saint Nazaire in France on its maiden voyage with the eSAILs on 3 March and is set to arrive in Mobile approximately two weeks later.

Also read: Louis Dreyfus contracts bound4blue for eSAILs on juice vessel

Air suction system

The installation of the eSAILs, developed by the technology innovator Bound4blue, contributes to Airbus’ target to halve CO2 emissions from its maritime logistics operations by 2030, versus a 2015 baseline. Moreover, wind-assisted propulsion is a key decarbonisation solution LDA believes can help the company reach its goal to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.

Each eSAIL generates six to seven times more lift than a conventional sail thanks to an electric-powered air suction system that helps the airflow to re-adhere to the sail. All this force allows for the reduction of the load on the ship’s main engines.

CTO of Bound4blue, David Ferrer: ‘This installation is our fourth ship project and the first of a fixed suction sail on a ro-ro vessel. It proves that suction sails can be fitted on ships with a high weather deck and large windage area meeting all required stability criteria.’

Also read: Bound4blue to install three suction sails on RoRo vessel

Upcoming projects

Meanwhile, Bound4blue has also signed additional commercial agreements with several other shipowners. These include the installation of four 26-metre-high eSAILs on the chartered-in, 35,584-DWT juice carrier MV Atlantic Orchard (built in 2014) for global agricultural trader Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC). The project, undertaken in collaboration with Wisby Tankers of Sweden, is expected to reduce annual fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by at least ten per cent.

In the tanker segment, Odfjell of Norway is gearing up to retrofit the eSAIL system this year on a chemical tanker, the first such vessel to harness this groundbreaking technology. Eastern Pacific Shipping of Singapore also very recently agreed to install three 22-metre eSAILs on its 50,332-DWT Pacific Sentinel (built 2019).

In other segments, Marubeni Corporation subsidiary MMSL Pte Ltd of Singapore also plans to install four 26-metre-high eSAILs on the 84,860-DWT kamsarmax bulker Crimson Kingdom (built in 2016) this year. Tahitian shipowner SNA THUA’A PAE (SNA) has signed up to install a single 22-metre-high eSAIL on a combined cargo/passenger newbuilding it has on order in Vigo, Spain, for delivery in 2026.

Picture: Ville de Bordeaux with the three 22-metre-high eSAILs installed (by Bound4blue).

Also read: LDA orders wind-assist ships for Airbus