MOL, partners to study use of aerospace engineering tech in wind-powered vessels

Four Japanese companies, including shipping major Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), have entered into an agreement to start a joint study related to wind-powered propulsion of vessels by application of aerospace engineering technologies.

Illustration only. Courtesy of MOL

The study will be conducted by MOL, MOL Tech-Trade (MOLTT), Tokai University and Akishima Laboratories.

Previously, MOL, MOLTT and Akishima Laboratories jointly developed the “ISHIN” ship design which is said to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by using wind as a propulsive force.

The developers have moved ahead with the adoption of the design and will now implement more advanced joint development aimed at optimising the hull shape for wind-powered vessels.

The advanced development adopts aerospace engineering technologies in the “ISHIN” ship design, in collaboration with Kota Fukuda, Associate Professor at the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Tokai University, Japan.

Adoption of “ISHIN” ship design on the vessel can reduce GHG emissions by about 5% on the Asia-North America route, but targets a reduction of more than 12% by introducing aerodynamic technologies accumulated in the aerospace engineering field, the partners explain.

The study was selected for the Japan Ship Machinery and Equipment Association’s (JSMEA) “2022 new product development subsidy program”, and efforts are underway to commercialize the R&D results for the benefit of society with the subsidy from The Nippon Foundation.

In line with its environmental vision, MOL is ramping up efforts to harness wind as a propulsive force and contribute to the decarbonisation of the industry.

Just recently, the company installed a hard sail system on board a bulk carrier developed under the Wind Challenger project at Oshima Shipbuilding.

The project is now ready to proceed to the commissioning stage and sea trials as 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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