Louis Dreyfus Armateurs picks vessel for bound4blue eSAILs installation

French maritime firm Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) has decided to install bound4blue eSAILs® on its ro-ro ship Ville de Bordeaux.

Image credit: bound4blue

Three 22-metre-high eSAILs® will be fitted to the Ville de Bordeaux ahead of a six-month performance monitoring period starting in early 2024. The Ville de Bordeaux is chartered from LDA by Airbus to ship A320 Family subassemblies from Europe to Mobile in the United States for final assembly.

The eSAIL® is developed by the Spain-based firm bound4blue, which claims that the solution creates as much as six to seven times more lift than a conventional rigid sail. It consists of a sail-like vertical surface and an electric-powered air suction system that helps the airflow to re-adhere to the sail, generating additional lift and thereby reducing the load on the ship’s main engines.

The move comes on the back of a decision announced a year ago when LDA launched a preliminary project to assess the viability of the installation of the eSAIL on one of its vessels.

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The wind developer said that the new technology could save up to 1,800 tons of CO2 emissions per year for this ship.

The installation is in line with Airbus’ aim to halve CO2 emissions from its maritime operations by 2030, compared to a 2015 baseline.

“We at Airbus have been studying wind-assisted technologies as a potential energy source for our maritime operations for many years,” said Nicolas Chrétien, Head of Sustainability & Environment at Airbus.

“As we embark on an exciting journey with our partners Louis Dreyfus Armateurs and bound4blue, we reaffirm our ambition to explore all innovation pathways to develop more sustainable maritime solutions and further reduce the carbon footprint of our industrial operations. This technology looks promising and we are eager to start testing it in real conditions by the end of the year.”

The installation process is co-funded by the European Union.

“At Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, we are committed to supporting the decarbonization of the shipping industry, achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” said Mathieu Muzeau, Transport & Logistic General Manager at Louis Dreyfus Armateurs.

“Wind-assisted propulsion is one of the solutions we believe will help us reach this objective. To determine the best technology for our operations, we are eager to identify and test various forms of wind-assisted propulsion, including rotating vertical cylinders, flexible sails, rigid sails, and wings. We are pleased to announce that we will soon install bound4blue’s eSAILs on our ro-ro vessel, Ville de Bordeaux, which we operate for Airbus.”

David Ferrer, CTO of bound4blue, said that the technology has already been implemented on three ships already. This deployment will mark the first-ever fixed suction sail installation on a Ro-Ro ship.