A bird with six wings: Tender design finalized for world’s first wind-powered RoRo

Swedish company Oceanbird, a joint venture between Alfa Laval and Wallenius, revealed that a tender design for the world’s first wind-powered roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) vessel has been finalized.

Courtesy of Oceanbird

The tender design shows a ship equipped with six wing sails running in parallel across the deck. After being verified through prototype and wind tunnel tests, the design will be ready for a shipyard, according to Oceanbird.

An existing Wallenius vessel, the 2009-built Tirranna, is to be retrofitted with wing sails.

The Oceanbird concept was developed in a Swedish research cluster consisting of ship design and ship management company Wallenius Marine, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and SSPA Maritime center at Rise. In 2020, the cluster presented a vessel with telescopic 80-meter-high wing sails and studies that showed a possibility of a 90% reduction of emissions.

To be able to start a wing sail production, Wallenius contacted Alfa Laval and the companies formed the joint venture company Oceanbird. It soon became clear that the telescopic wing sail was too complicated and heavy to be able to put into realization in a near future. The R&D team at Oceanbird managed to half the size, while keeping the same performance, using a two-segment design that created camber.

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“Thanks to the smaller size and less weight, the wing sail can also be placed on existing vessels, and by that doing much more to reduce the total emissions caused by shipping,” Niclas Dahl, Oceanbird Managing Director, commented.

Meanwhile, Wallenius Marine is leading the ship design project of the first fully sailing vessel from the Oceanbird concept — Orcelle Wind — which is funded by the EU.

During 2024, there might be small alterations to the ship design based on, among others, new wind tunnel tests and the results from Oceanbird’s prototype testing in Landskrona and onboard Tirranna. At the beginning of 2025, negotiations will begin with shipyards to build the vessel.

“To finish the tender design is a big milestone. This project has been a collaboration right from the start and having partners that complement each other is absolutely essential so succeed,” Carl Fagergren, who leads the Orcelle Wind ship design project at Wallenius Marine, said.

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The original Swedish cluster continues to collaborate, now in the EU project Orcelle Horizon, consisting of eleven partners. Joining different perspectives from all parts of the value chain, Orcelle Horizon is supporting the building of the world’s first fully sailing car-carrying vessel.

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