WATCH: Cargill-chartered Pyxis Ocean sets sails with WindWings set to save 3 tonnes of fuel a day
Pyxis Ocean, a Kamsarmax vessel owned by Mitsubishi Corporation and chartered by Cargill, has been fitted with two WindWings, a pioneering technology developed by BAR Technologies and produced by Yara Marine Technologies.
WindWings is an advanced wind-assisted propulsion and route optimization system, and according to its developers, simulations demonstrate that it can reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 30% on average trading patterns. This could be even higher if used in combination with alternative fuels.
The system features large solid wing sails that measure up to 37 meters in height, fitted to the deck of bulk cargo ships to harness the power of the wind. The foldable sails have been built from the same material as wind turbines as a means of making them more durable.
BAT Technologies said that the system will enable the ship to save 3 tonnes of fuel per day.
The installation of the wings took place at the COSCO shipyard in China and the Pyxis Ocean is now on the water, conducting her maiden voyage from China to Brazil.
Global commodities business Cargill will be the first operator to test the WindWings in practice.
“The maritime industry is on a journey to decarbonize—it’s not an easy one, but it is an exciting one,” said Jan Dieleman, President of Cargill’s Ocean Transportation business.
“At Cargill we have a responsibility to pioneer decarbonizing solutions across all our supply chains to meet our customer’s needs and the needs of the planet. A technology like WindWings doesn’t come without risk, and as an industry leader – in partnership with visionary shipowner Mitsubishi Corporation – we are not afraid to invest, take those risks and be transparent with our learnings to help our partners in maritime transition to a more sustainable future.”
The performance of the WindWings will be closely monitored over the coming months to further improve their design, operation, and performance, with the aim that the Pyxis Ocean will be used to inform the scale-up and adoption across not only Cargill’s fleet but the industry.
BAR Technologies and Yara Marine Technologies are already planning to build hundreds of wings over the next four years and BAR Technologies is also researching newbuilds with improved hydrodynamic hull forms.
“If international shipping is to achieve its ambition of reducing CO2 emissions, then innovation must come to the fore. Wind is a near-marginal cost-free fuel and the opportunity for reducing emissions, alongside significant efficiency gains in vessel operating costs, is substantial. Today is the culmination of years of pioneering research, where we’ve invested in our unique wind sail technology and sought out a skilled industrialization partner in Yara Marine Technologies, in order to provide vessel owners and operators with an opportunity to realize these efficiencies,” said John Cooper, Chief Executive Officer, BAR Technologies.
The WindWings project, which is co-funded by the European Union as part of the CHEK Horizon 2020 initiative, is aimed at providing a retrofit solution to help decarbonize existing vessels, which is particularly relevant given that 55 percent of the world’s bulker fleets are up to nine years in age.
In addition, by harnessing the power of wind, WindWings can help vessel owners meet new CII rules.
As explained, having in mind that wind power not only has zero emissions but is also non-depleting and hugely predictable, it offers significant efficiency gains in vessel operating costs.
On an average global route, WindWings can save 1.5 tonnes of fuel per WindWing per day – with the possibility of saving more on trans-ocean routes. This can translate into vessel owners saving heavy fuel oil (HFO) at c$800 per tonne.