Marine wind propulsion systems provider Airsea has announced the successful first installation of its automated kite Seawing on board a commercial vessel.
The installation marks an important milestone for the industry as the marine sector begins to deploy wind-assisted solutions to support decarbonization.
Installed onboard the Ville de Bordeaux, a vessel chartered by Airbus and operated by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, the ro-ro ship will deploy the 500m2 solution when transporting aircraft components between France and the USA starting January 2022. This will mark the start of six months of sea trials ahead of the system being used in full during operations.
The full-size Seawing consists of a 1,000m2 parafoil which flies at a height of 300m to capture the wind for vessel propulsion. Following modeling and preliminary land testing, Airsea estimates that its Seawing solution will enable on average a 20% reduction in fuel consumption and emissions.
Classification society Bureau Veritas granted Airseas with formal approval so that the system could be utilized for operations at sea. The pair worked in close collaboration for three years on the development and early trials of the wind propulsion solution.
By drawing on its expertise from the aeronautical sector, including digital twin and automation technology, the Seawing system is capable of being deployed, operated and stored at the push of a button. The company can also retrofit the system on a ship in just two days.
“This first installation marks a significant milestone not only for Airseas but also for wind and other renewable propulsion technologies in general,” said Vincent Bernatets, CEO and co-founder of Airseas. “Given the urgency of the climate crisis, the world needs to see a drastic reduction in carbon emissions now. In shipping, we can achieve this by using the full set of tools we have available to us today. Wind propulsion is one of these and will play an essential role in helping shipping achieve its much-needed decarbonization transition.”
“This important milestone follows three years of close and fruitful collaboration on the development and early trials of the Seawing, supporting Airseas’ safety-first approach and validating the reliability of the system,” commented Laurent Leblanc, senior vice president technical and operations, Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore. “At BV, we are dedicated to help the maritime sector navigate the challenges of the energy transition, and we fully believe that wind propulsion technology represents a key opportunity to start decarbonizing the maritime sector immediately.”