Photo: Bureau Veritas

BV okays wind-assisted propulsion system for 1,800 TEU containership

French classification society Bureau Veritas (BV) has delivered an approval in principle (AiP) to compatriot shipping company Zéphyr & Borée for its first open-top 1,800 TEU containership, demonstrating the feasibility of using wind-propelled wing-sails on this type of vessel.

The 185-meter-long container vessel is designed with five cargo holds, mostly open-top.

Bureau Veritas
Image Courtesy: Bureau Veritas

Propulsion means are compliant with IMO’s Tier III requirements, and the vessel is equipped with shaft generators and a heat recovery system that minimizes fuel consumption.

The vessel’s propulsion system will be assisted by eight sails provided by computed wing sails (CWS). The design is a thick, asymmetrical wing-sail that can be steered to catch port and starboard winds, and adjusts itself automatically depending on the wind conditions to ensure optimal savings.

In the race to decarbonize their fleet, many shipowners are exploring alternative propulsion methods as a way to improve the energy efficiency of their vessels and reduce their emissions. Among emerging options, wind-assisted propulsion is considered a strong contender for achieving significant emissions reduction, using a free, clean and renewable energy source available worldwide.

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BV was involved from the very early stage of the design. The main design principles were reviewed in order to ensure the feasibility of the concept and identify any obstacles. The AiP confirms the design’s compliance with the most recent BV notations, including NR 206 on Wind Propulsion systems.

“We are convinced that the wind energy will play an important role in the years to come to decarbonize ships’ propulsion. The integration of sails on container ships is an important technical challenge on which we are working hard at Zéphyr & Borée,” Nils Joyeux, CEO at Zéphyr & Borée, said.

“We are delighted to collaborate with BV on this project, which represents a key milestone by demonstrating the viability of wing-sails as a wind propulsion solution for container ships. We intend to continue our work with maritime stakeholders to offer wind propulsion solutions that are economically viable and make a tangible difference for the sector.”

In partnership with Jifmar Offshore Service and VPLP design, the company has also developed for the needs of ArianeGroup a 121-meter-long cargo ship dedicated for the transport of the future Ariane 6 launcher from the European continent to French Guiana.

“Wind, even if it is not always available, is a serious option to help decarbonize the shipping industry. Wind propulsion systems can play a significant role by providing substantial propulsive energy,” Laurent Leblanc, Senior Vice President Technical & Operations at Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore, commented.

“With this AiP, we are pleased to demonstrate the technology can be applied to containerships, which represent 17.5% of the global fleet (in tonnage).”

Bureau Veritas has released classification rules that provide a framework for wind propulsion systems (WPS). These rules address safety and reliability from the design review stage through installation and operations, including survey regimes and maintenance requirements. To comply with WPS rules, ships must undergo a risk analysis, determine local and general ship strength, and define load cases, automation and release systems.