Tokyo-based shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and Tohoku Electric Power have announced the delivery of the Shofu Maru coal carrier, a vessel equipped with the Wind Challenger hard sail wind power propulsion technology.
The four-tier Wind Challenger system, which measures 53m in height with a width of 15m, was developed primarily by MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding. It uses a telescoping hard sail to harness wind power to deliver propulsion for sea-going vessels. The companies estimate the system will reduce the amount of fuel needed to conduct operations, in addition to lessening the impact on the maritime environment and improving cost efficiency for operators.
The Shofu Maru is the first vessel in the world to be fitted with the Wind Challenger system and will be used by Tohoku Electric Power to transport coal between Australia, Indonesia and North America. Following the installation of the wind propulsion system, the greenhouse gas emissions of the vessel are estimated to be reduced by 5% on the Japan to Australia route, and by approximately 8% on the route between Japan and the North American West Coast when compared to traditional vessels of the same design.
A naming and handover ceremony was conducted at Oshima Shipbuilding in Saikai-shi, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan before the vessel began operations on October 7, 2022.