This month saw the debut of Pyxis Ocean, a huge red cargo ship. But unlike the majority of those that came before it, this one is partly powered by wind.
Two WindWings, massive steel sails that are 37.5 meters (123 feet) tall and were created by industry partner Yara Marine Technologies, were retrofitted onto the ship that is contracted by US cargo corporation Cargill.
It is anticipated that the wings will reduce emissions by up to 30%. The savings would be considerably greater, according to developers, if utilized in conjunction with alternative fuels.
The journey, which started in China and is currently traveling to Brazil, will test the technology.
New wind-assisted propulsion methods
Every year, the shipping sector emits more than one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide or about 3% of all emissions in the world that are caused by people. The industry promised in July to reach net zero in terms of global warming pollution “by or around 2050.” One method for achieving this is the utilization of wind. New wind-assisted propulsion methods have emerged recently, however, the idea is not new—sailing ships have been in use for more than 5,000 years.
On cargo ships, enormous kites and rotor technologies have been tested in an effort to lessen their reliance on diesel. However, the International Windship Association estimates that there are now only about 20 big commercial vessels using wind power.
The entry of Cargill, one of the biggest agricultural traders in the world that moves about 225 million tonnes of goods annually, might have a significant impact. According to John Cooper, CEO of BAR Technologies, the company’s involvement has been crucial in helping WindWings gain traction. He claims, “They show the way, and others respect what they’re doing.”
Cost of wind-assisted technologies comparable to the fuel savings
According to Cargill, the wings not only assist in lowering cargo ship emissions but also enable owners of vessels to comply with new industry standards for energy efficiency and save money by reducing fuel usage. According to the business, WindWings can save 1.5 metric tonnes of fuel per wing per day on an average worldwide route, with the potential for even greater fuel savings for transoceanic flights. This, according to the company, might become even more crucial when using more expensive, future greener fuels (such as ammonia and methanol).
The cost of wind-assisted technologies must be comparable to the fuel savings they offer in order for them to become widely used, according to experts. In order to make adjustments to the design before it is produced at scale, the performance of the wings will be closely evaluated along the journey.
Cooper claims that BAR Technologies already has other contracts in the works, including one for a cargo ship chartered by Vale that will depart from Shanghai in September and be outfitted with four WindWings. We anticipate assisting the global shipping sector as it makes the switch to cleaner, greener propulsion, according to him.