World's first wind-powered RoRo

World’s first wind-powered RoRo vessel gets €9 mln boost

Wallenius Wilhelmsen and project partners have won €9 million worth of funding under the Horizon Europe program to support building a RoRo sailing vessel named the Orcelle Wind.

Image credit Wallenius Wilhelmsen

The project, announced back in 2021, is now entering the planning, building, and operating stage set to last for five years.

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Orcelle Wind is a wind-powered Pure Car Truck Carrier. It will be 220 meters and have a capacity for over 7,000 cars. It will also be capable of carrying breakbulk and rolling equipment.

The project is a crucial part of Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s fleet decarbonization strategy and the ambition is for it to commence sailing in late 2026 or early 2027.

It builds on the Oceanbird concept developed by Swedish-based maritime consultancy Wallenius Marine. Wallenius Wilhelmsen took the concept forward by applying its knowledge from the RoRo business as it eyes up to 90% reduced emissions from the vessel design.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen said that the EU project is a solid opportunity to combine the investments needed for full-scale demonstration and data capture with advanced models and tools for wing propulsion vessels.

As part of the Horizon Europe funding project, the partners plan to install the wing sail test rig on an existing Wallenius Wilhelmsen vessel during mid-2024.

Beyond the demonstrator’s vessel, the partners will use the models and tools to develop advanced conceptual designs and operational plans for multiple vessel types to apply the wing solution.

“The Horizon Europe EU funding shows the concept stood up to the scrutiny of the EU funding authorities and that they had the confidence to give it their support,” says Roger Strevens, VP Global Sustainability at Wallenius Wilhelmsen.

The €9 million grant is divided between eleven partners engaged in different parts of the project including weather routing, vessel design, supply chain orchestration, and crew training to test rig installation on an existing vessel.

Aside from Wallenius Wilhelmsen, the project coordinator, these include Wallenius Marine, AlfaWall Oceanbird, a JV of Alfa Laval and Wallenius specializing in developing wind-powered propulsion technology, Volvo Cars car brand, weather forecasting provider StormGeo, Maritime CleanTech, DNV classification society, RISE Maritime from Sweden, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, UGent, a Belgium based public research university and NTUA, an engineering university from Greece.

The project’s scope is to make the Orcelle Wind ready for commercial trading.

“The EU Funding project is based on a collaborative approach – we need strong partners to lead the way to zero emissions as soon as possible. We are proud to have a group of the best technical, operational, and academic partners, as well as one of our key customers, for the project. All have committed to working together to help make Orcelle Wind a reality,” said Strevens.