The 2004-built Ville de Bordeaux, a 21,528gt RoRo owned by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, is to deploy a 500m2 automated kite, Seawing, on its regular trans-Atlantic crossings from January. The vessel is chartered by Airbus and transports aircraft parts between France and the US.
Seawing has been developed by Toulouse-based Airseas and the installation is the first on any commercial vessel. The project has been approved by classification society, Bureau Veritas, and the kite will now be tested over six months of sea trials in advance of its full operation.
Founded by former aeronautical engineers from Airbus, Airseas has developed the Seawing, both for new and existing ships. It can be deployed, operated and stored at the push of a button, according to a company statement, and can be retrofitted on an existing ship within two days.
The full-sized Seawing is twice the size of the Ville de Bordeaux version and is designed to fly at a height of 300m. Tests ashore indicate that it could save an average 20% in fuel consumption and emissions.
Airseas’ co-founder and CEO, Vincent Bernatets, commented: “This first installation marks a significant milestone not only for Airseas but also for wind and other renewable propulsion technologies in general. 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 decarbonisation transition.”
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