Industry’s first: Odfjell to install suction sails on a chemical tanker

Norwegian shipping company Odfjell in partnership with bound4blue, a Spanish developer of wind-assisted propulsion technology, will install the eSAIL® suction sail system on a chemical tanker, making it the first tanker vessel in the world to harness this type of technology.

Image credit: Odfjell

The eSAIL system, categorized as a suction sail, is based on the use of a thick aerodynamic profile and smart suction to increase the propulsive efficiency, resulting in a system that produces seven times more lift than an airplane wing, according to the company.

The technology is aimed at helping owners reduce fuel consumption and pollutant emissions.

The move is being pursued as part of Odfjell’s decarbonization efforts which have resulted in a 51% improved carbon intensity compared to the 2008 baseline, according to Odfjell’s data.

The decision to collaborate with bound4blue was supported by an extensive study conducted by SSPA, evaluating various Wind Assisted Propulsion Systems (WAPS) for the Odfjell fleet.

“Since 2020, we have been studying sail technologies as a potential energy efficiency measure for our fleet, and we are excited to now take the next step by partnering with bound4blue to implement their pioneering eSAIL® system on one of our chemical tankers,” said Jan Opedal, Manager Projects at Odfjell.

“This technology has significant potential to reduce emissions by harvesting the energy on the ship itself and transforming it directly into a forward thrust.”

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Odfjell added that its partnership with bound4blue aims to expand access to the eSAIL® technology within the tanker shipping segment and further contribute to the industry’s efforts in decarbonization.

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“This project marks another leap in our dedication to decarbonization. As the first tanker company to test the suction-sail technology, we demonstrate our innovative capabilities and dedication to a more sustainable shipping sector,” said Erik Hjortland, Odfjell’s Vice President of Technology.

“We all have a responsibility to use as few resources as possible, and Odfjell’s long-time efforts in energy efficiency have significantly reduced our fleet’s emissions. The work continues, and we look forward to documenting further improvements with the installation of suction sails.”

“We are thrilled to team up with Odfjell for our first-ever installation in the tanker segment. They are true pioneers in innovation and sustainability, setting the bar for decarbonization in the industry. We are pleased that they have chosen our technology after their thorough analysis, confirming that we are headed in the right direction. Working with their open and collaborative team has been fantastic, and we are confident that our joint efforts will unlock significant value for the industry,” said David Ferrer, CTO of bound4blue.

The installation is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

The deal comes on the heels of bound4blue’s sales partnership agreement with Japan’s Marubeni Corporation for the wind-assisted propulsion system eSAIL.

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