Oceanbird takes flight: full-scale land-based prototype set to be assembled in Sweden

Oceanbird, a project aimed at developing a wind-powered cargo ship, is moving forward with the assembly of a land-based prototype of Oceanbird Wing 560, its first full-scale wing sail.

Image credit Oceanbird

The Alfa Laval and Wallenius-backed JV company said that the prototype will be assembled at the Oresund DryDocks shipyard, Sweden’s largest repair yard, by the fall and placed by the Swedish coastline in Landskrona by the end of 2023.

This will provide an opportunity for testing and further development of the Oceanbird wing sail technology, which is a key component of the Oceanbird design. The goal is to test functionality, crew training, and develop the automation of the wing sails.

“Oceanbird has done extensive computer simulations and model tests, but now we get to test our design for real for the first time. We chose Oresund Drydocks to benefit from their shipyard experience and the coastal location. Additionally, all the practical necessities are there”, says Jonas Alván, Senior Product Manager at Oceanbird.

The parts for two wing sails will be delivered to the yard after the summer.

“Oresund DryDocks is extremely proud to be part of the Oceanbird project. We see it as an important step towards the zero-emission vision when the world’s combined fleet moves towards fossil-free propulsion”, says Peter Andersson, Vice President of Oresund DryDocks.

The Oceanbird wing sail consists of a main sail and a flap, optimizing the aerodynamics forces. To allow the vessel to pass under bridges and reduce the power in hard weather, the wing can be folded and tilted.It is half the size of the initial wing sail model introduced in 2021, but the company says that it has the same performance as the previous design, allowing a smaller footprint: both environmental and on deck.

Oceanbird Wing 560

Height: 40 meters (131 feet)

Width: 14 meters (46 feet)

Total sail area: 560 m2 (6028 f2)

Weight: Approx 150 tons

In terms of materials, the wing will be built from high-strength steel and glass fiber. The company said that it plans to use a large amount of recycled material in the process.

Oceanbird estimates that one wing sail on an existing RoRo vessel at normal speed, can reduce fuel consumption from the main engine by 7-10 % on favorable oceangoing routes. This equals a saving of approx. 675,000 liters of diesel per year, which corresponds to approx. 1920 tonnes of CO2 per year.

After the first wing sail is completed at the shipyard, Oceanbird will install the second wing on an existing vessel in mid-2024 as a part of the EU-funded project Orcelle Horizon.

Related Article

The first retrofit project will take place on the Wallenius Wilhelmsen PCTC, the 2009-built Tirranna, during the ship’s regular drydocking. A single sail will be trialed and the project will involve modifying the hull and conducting strength and stability tests.