Dutch shipowners rally behind wind-propulsion

Four Dutch shipowners will pioneer the 3rd generation of VentoFoils produced by eConowind, becoming active ambassadors of the solutions.

Namely, Boomsma Shipping, Vertom Group, Van Dam Shipping, and Schram Shipping have been the early developers of wind-assisted propulsion and have gained experience with the first two generations of the VentoFoils. Now they want to take the technology a step further and help it evolve and bolster efficiency.

Wind propulsion is emerging as a promising solution that can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of ships. Various types of solutions are being adopted by shipowners ahead of an expected strengthening of the IMO decarbonization targets later this year.

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The Ventofoil is a type of non-rotating wing that is designed to generate thrust for a ship using boundary layer suction. It features vents and an internal fan that create a suction effect, allowing it to generate maximum propelling force relative to its size. This technology is based on modern aerodynamic principles and results in high propelling force. Additionally, the Ventofoil can be easily folded and rotated around its own axis, allowing access to the ship’s cargo hold. By using bigger foils, the Ventifoil is able to produce greater forward force, resulting in fuel savings. The systems can be deployed regardless of whether a vessel runs on traditional or green fuels.

According to Frank Nieuwenhuis of eConowind, all the pooled knowledge and experience can make the wings more widely available.

“There is momentum and our order pipeline is well-stocked. Several shipping companies have closely followed the innovators and ordered their own VentoFoils.”

“With the increased production capacity, we can now serve the market even better. We are continuing to develop as a scale-up and advanced discussions are ongoing with several investors,” Nieuwenhuis said.

For us, energy efficiency is key, which is why we are always open to new developments. I think the three key factors – unit cost, fuel prices and European ETS legislation – are converging in such a way that wind-assisted propulsion will soon become one of the standard solutions. eConowind will succeed in making a significant contribution to reducing shipping emissions,” Johan Boomsma of Boomsma Shipping said.

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“We want to show customers and competitors that shipowners can reduce their fuel consumption with a proven, affordable system. For the crew, it is easy to use; with the push of a button you can deploy and lower the sails again. Finally, and very importantly for us, eConowind speaks our language. As an exponent of the Dutch maritime manufacturing industry, it supplies high-quality equipment to shipowners. At Boomsma, we include the VentoFoils in all our new construction plans.”

According to Jan van Dam, of Van Dam Shipping, the installation has become a no-brainer.

“As the first user of the VentiFoil system, we see how the system is developing in a positive way. We will have to go green as an industry and wind-assisted propulsion is a ‘quick win’. With our 4,000-tonne vessel, we consume about 1,250 tonnes of fuel a year. With current fuel prices, you will earn back the VentoFoils within four years. When the CO2 tax comes into force, it will go faster. Together with Tata Steel, we are looking at developing a hydrogen-powered ship. With that kind of expensive fuel, we will earn back the VentoFoils even faster,” he explained.

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“With this solution, you can make the existing fleet more sustainable. As Vertom, we will deploy the system on 3 ships. We are investigating whether we can equip even more ships with these wind wings. We are also investigating if VentoFoils can be deployed on sustainable new-build ship designs in combination with, for example, hydrogen or methanol. Through the lease construction, we can deploy the VentoFoils in a cashflow-neutral way. This allows us to learn, do research and share our experiences with fellow shipowners,” Thomas van Meerkerk of Vertom Group said.

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