NYK breaks new ground with its 1st ever wind-assisted propulsion installation

NYK Bulkship (Atlantic) N.V., a subsidiary of the NYK Group headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium, will introduce a wind-assisted ship-propulsion unit on one of its vessels currently under a long-term charter contract with Cargill International S.A., a prominent Swiss-based freight trader.

Image credit NYK Group

The initiative marks the first-ever utilization of such technology on an NYK Group ship, NBA Magritte. The Panamax bulker of 82,100 dwt was built in 2013 by Tsuneishi.

Under the plan, NBAtlantic will equip the bulk carrier with the VentoFoil wind-assisted propulsion unit from Econowind B.V., a wing sail producer based in the Netherlands. NBAtlantic will collect data on the propulsion generated by this equipment, in addition to meteorological and ocean conditions during navigation, and measure the unit’s effectiveness in collaboration with Cargill International S.A.

Sitting on a 20-foot-long (approximately 6-meter) flat rack container with no walls, VentoFoil has a 16-meter vertical wing that plays the role of a sail. Like an airplane wing, VentoFoil creates propulsion with the pressure difference on both sides of the wing. The unit takes in the wind through its suction port and obtains greater propulsion by amplifying the pressure difference.

The fully-automated suction wing reduces fuel consumption from 10-30 percent, helping owners cut their carbon emissions at the same time, data from Econowind shows.

NYK said that VentoFoil’s advantages are its size, as the solution is smaller than similar equipment, keeping it more out of the way of cargo handling, together with easy installation and relocation.

According to Econowind, the installation can be completed in 1-2 days, and they can be titled during cargo operations.

“The NYK Group will utilize the knowledge gained in this research and development to promote initiatives related to various energy-saving technologies, including the use of wind power,” the company said.

This initiative is part of NYK’s long-term target of net-zero emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) by 2050 for the NYK Group’s oceangoing businesses.