MOL installs first Wind Challenger hard sail on board bulk carrier

Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has installed a hard sail system on board a bulk carrier developed under the Wind Challenger project at compatriot Oshima Shipbuilding.

The project, which aims to harness wind as a propulsive force for merchant ships, is now ready to proceed to the commissioning stage and sea trials, according to MOL’s social media update.

The hard sail-equipped vessel is slated for delivery in October this year when it will start transporting cargoes for Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc.

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The milestone was reached 13 years after the beginning of the Wind Challenger plan, an industry-academia joint research project led by The University of Tokyo, which was taken over by MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding in January 2018.

The introduction plan of a large-scale dry bulk vessel with a hard sail system was recently certified by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Specifically, it was certified as an “Introduction plan of a vessel with excellent environmental performance” under the Wind Challenger project.

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Moreover, MOL’s Wind Challenger technology, together with rotor sail technology developed by Anemoi Marine Technologies, will be utilised on board a 62,900 dwt eco-friendly bulk carrier to be built by Oshima Shipbuilding.

The vessel is a part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between MOL’s subsidiary MOL Drybulk, and sustainable wood bioenergy producer Enviva seeking to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the woody biomass supply chain.

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