UK-based Carisbrooke Shipping, which owns and operates a 27-ship fleet of small bulk carriers and multipurpose vessels, is collaborating with GT Green Technologies and the University of Bristol to install a wind sail on one of its vessels.
Supported by a GBP 3.7 million grant from the UK Department of Transport’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 4, the company will retrofit a 20m-high AirWingTM wind propulsion system to a vessel that is deployed on round voyages between the UK and Canada. The initiative is expected to yield annual fuel savings of 8.3%.
The patent-pending AirWing is designed to maximise thrust within a compact and lightweight profile and is suitable for general cargo ships with limited deck space, the partners said.
Carisbrooke Shipping’s senior fleet manager, Captain Simon Merritt, commented: "We’ve been discussing various technologies with GT Green for the last two years and are excited to be prototyping their AirWing concept in 2024. Using AirWing technology will reduce operating costs by lowering fuel consumption and emissions."
“It will improve the vessel's green credentials and lower the tax burden for the ship's operators. We will be installing the AirWing on one of our UK-registered vessels, and all the design work as well as construction will be carried out in the UK,” he added.
Tobias Laux, a research associated at the University of Bristol, said: “We are very excited to be part of the AirWing consortium and to contribute our expertise in composite structures testing and modelling to the development of innovative wind propulsion technology. We believe that wind propulsion will play an important role in future sustainable shipping and that cross-disciplinary research in fluid dynamics, structures, and ship science will be necessary to harness its full potential.”
GT Green Technologies has undertaken feasibility studies for a number of large international shipowners and holds a series of letters of intent for future orders. With 20,000 ships globally suitable for wind propulsion versus only about 35 installations today, there is vast market potential. The company believes its AirWing technology positions the company ideally for rapid commercial deployment and scale-up.
Carisbrooke Shipping adopts AirWing technology