Chemship debuts sails on chemical tanker as it progresses on sustainability journey

In an important step forward towards a greener shipping industry, Dutch shipping company Chemship has commissioned the ‘world’s first’ chemical tanker equipped with sails.

Courtesy of Chemship

On February 16, 2024, about 180 stakeholders gathered together on board a fully electric party boat to witness the hoisting of the sails on board MT Chemical Challenger, Chemship’s 16,100 dwt small chemical tanker.

The inauguration of the sails is said to represent a milestone in the 55-year history of Chemship, positioning the company among pioneers of innovation in the chemical shipping industry.

The four 16-meter-high aluminium wind sails were transported from the factory in Zeewolde to RHB in the Port of Rotterdam a week earlier. They were installed on board the 134-meter-long vessel that will serve on Chemship’s route between the East Coast of the United States and the Mediterranean.

The VentoFoil units were provided by Chemship’s compatriot company eConowind. They create a direct wind surface of 180 square meters. Smart vacuum technology quintuples the force of the wind, creating a gross wind surface of 900 square meters. This is equivalent to an imaginary sail of 30 by 30 meters.

“Although wind power is an ancient way of propulsion, the Innovative “Ventofoils” are a groundbreaking technology and show our commitment to keep on reducing CO2 emissions. The ‘sails’ are the most visible part of the solutions we have embraced to create a better CO2 footprint,” the tanker company said.

Related Article

Chemship has a relatively young fleet with an average ship age of seven years.

“As an avid sailor, I know the power of the wind. We will now harness this sustainable and free energy source on MT Chemical Challenger. Despite the fact that shipping already has the lowest carbon footprint of all transport modes, we can use wind to make our existing fleet even more sustainable. With the VentoFoils, we will use less fuel and thus reduce CO2 emissions. For this vessel, we anticipate an annual CO2 reduction of 850 tonnes. This is equivalent to the yearly CO2 emissions of over 500 passenger cars,” Niels Grotz, CEO of Chemship, commented.

The project is part of the company’s green vision “Setting Sail Toward Sustainable Shipping” which demonstrates Chemship’s commitment to sustainability and serves as a reminder of responsibility in this context.

By using the power of wind to reduce fuel consumption, the tanker operator expects to achieve an average CO2 reduction of 10% with these turbo sails.

Niels Grotz. Courtesy of Chemship

The wind sails are said to fit well within the existing configuration of Chemship’s tankers.

“Shipping is evolution: one step at a time. Chemship was looking for a solution that would not interfere with normal operations. These wind sails were easy to install without adding reinforcements to the ship. They are lightweight, have a small deck ‘footprint’ and do not obstruct the crew’s line of sight. At the push of a button, they can fold or set the sails as needed. Above wind force seven, the sails fold automatically, which is much safer. Now it is learning by doing. With positive results, we will also equip the next vessel with VentoFoils,” Michiel Marelis, Operations Director at Chemship, said.

Earlier this month, eConowind’s VentiFoils were also selected by Finland-based shipping company RABN – Rederi Ab Nathalie for installation onboard the company’s general cargo ship Odda Marie.

Related Article

The momentum continues to grow for wind propulsion solutions and their adoption in the shipping sector. The International Windship Association (IWSA) projected that wind propulsion installations on large vessels would surpass the 50 mark in early 2024.

The emergence of wind-assisted sailing coincides exactly with the introduction of the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) for the shipping industry. Since January 1, shipowners have been paying for the emissions associated with transporting goods by sea to and from European ports.

“Our customers increasingly demand CO2 reports. The better our ships perform, the higher the rating from our customers. Fewer emissions are not only beneficial for the environment, you will also notice it directly in your wallet,” Niels explained.