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Cargill and BAR Technologies’ WindWings sets sail on lower-carbon path for the maritime industry

A collaboration between Cargill, BAR Technologies, MC Shipping and Yara Marine Technologies has the potential to decarbonize bulk cargo vessels by up to 30 per cent

On 21 August 2023 Cargill and BAR Technologies’ groundbreaking WindWings innovation set sail, testing new technology that will bring wind propulsion to commercial shipping for the first time.

Mitsubishi Corporation’s Pyxis Ocean, chartered by Cargill, is the first vessel to be retrofitted with two WindWings, which are large wing sails measuring up to 45m in height that can be fitted to the deck of bulk cargo ships to harness the power of wind.

Manufactured by partner Yara Marine Technologies, they are expected to generate average fuel savings of up to 30 percent on new build vessels, which could be even higher if used in combination with alternative fuels. 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.

“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 MC Shipping – 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 installation demonstrates new  attitudes towards technologies that can enable an energy transition for existing vessels. The maritime industry faces a huge challenge to reduce average CO2 emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 and is working towards 50 per cent by 2050.

The WindWings project, which is co-funded by the European Union as part of the CHEK Horizon 2020 initiative, can help the industry meet those targets by offering a retrofit solution that is capable of decarbonizing existing vessels, which is particularly relevant given that 55 percent of the world’s bulker fleet are up to nine years in age.

The performance of the sails 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 is already planning to build hundreds of wings over the next four years and is also researching new builds with differing hydrodynamic forms.

Ships Montly - January 2024

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