World's first wind-powered RoRo

WATCH: Wallenius Wilhelmsen tests new hull of Orcelle Wind before approaching shipyards

Wallenius Wilhelmsen and its project partners are working diligently on the development of the Orcelle Wind, an innovative wind-powered Pure Car Truck Carrier.

Image credit Wallenius Wilhelmsen

Namely, parallel to the production of the first wing prototypes, the company is also working on the fine-tuning of the vessel design.

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

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Meanwhile, the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE)’s SSPA Maritime Center has tested the new and final hull dimensions of Orcelle Wind at its towing tank in Gothenburg.

The tests included a completely new hull design featuring new appendices and main dimensions. The research team looked at how the roll motions in waves are damped as part of providing input to computer simulations needed to simulate the entire performance of the ship.

The Orcelle Wind’s performance is affected by both the air and water, therefore the two phenomena have to be tested individually and then combined in a simulator to predict the ship’s behavior and performance under different conditions.

“The great challenge is to achieve a sailing vessel with high sailing performance, and at the same time a well performing motor vessel with all the safety requirements that comes to a motor ship,” says Sofia Werner, Lead Researcher Wind-Powered Ships at SSPA/RISE.

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“We will soon finalize the tender design of the vessel. These tests at SSPA Maritime center will give valuable input to the final vessel design. Once the design is finalized, the next step is to approach shipyards,” says Carl Fagergren, Project Manager for Orcelle Wind at Wallenius Marine.

The Steering Committee for Orcelle Wind, with representants from Wallenius Lines/Marine and Wallenius Wilhelmsen, was at SSPA Maritime Center to witness the towing tank test and test the bridge simulator.

“The partnership we have for bringing the Orcelle project forward, is very dependent on the cooperation with the academia and the research institutes like SSPA/RISE. It has been incredibly valuable to see the tests here today,” says Richard Jeppsson, SVP Wind Powered Projects Wallenius Lines and Chairman of Orcelle Steering Committee.

The first wing sail from Oceanbird, Wing 560, has received Approval in Principle (AiP) from the classification society DNV.

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The Oceanbird wing sail consists of a main sail and a flap, optimizing the aerodynamic 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.

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, the Alfa Laval and Wallenius-backed JV company, 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.

The installation of a wing sail test rig on an existing Wallenius Wilhelmsen vessel aims to capture valuable data and refine the design of the Orcelle Wind.

This vessel, measuring 220 meters in length and capable of accommodating over 7,000 vehicles, is set to revolutionize sustainable shipping. The project is a cornerstone of Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s strategy to significantly reduce emissions, targeting a maiden voyage for the Orcelle Wind in late 2026 or early 2027.

The project brings together a consortium of eleven partners, including Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Wallenius Marine, AlfaWall Oceanbird, Volvo Cars, and DNV, each contributing unique expertise in areas such as weather routing, vessel design, and crew training.