Eco-efficient “Wind Vessel” Now in Development

The algorithms at the base of the system are constantly on high alert, keeping track of weather patterns and directing the crew to speed up, slow down, or change direction.

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While Maersk and a few other innovative titans of the ocean carrier industry are at work developing more fuel-efficient and “greener” vessels for the future, the most striking plan to date has come from a Oslo, Norway where a ship design company is incorporating aerodynamics for its beta model.

LadeAS, led by legendary speed sailor, Terje Lade, has introduced “Vindskip,” (or “wind ship”) designed to take advantage of the wind for propulsion, along with advance computer technology enabling weather forecasting and route optimization.

“The algorithms at the base of the system are constantly on high alert, keeping track of weather patterns and directing the crew to speed up, slow down, or change direction,” explains Lade.

While development remains in a conceptual phase, engineers are using wind tunnels and fluid dynamic computer systems to refine the model. A prototype is set to get underway for a trial run next month.

After that, says Lade, the Vindship development program should be complete by the end of the year. Two or three more years devoted to engineering and construction are expected before a delivery date in 2019 can be met.

“Stakeholders globally are recognizing the importance of creating more sustainable solutions,” says Lade. “This is evident through the introduction of new or amended regulations for the marine environment such as MARPOL Annex VI. Furthermore, Emission Control Areas (ECAs) are being introduced to help reduce emissions of SOx. Due to its very low fuel consumption, Vindskip can utilize LNG as fuel and will be capable of 70 days of steaming, worst case, between bunkering. Thus it can meet all future emission requirements.”

Lade adds that shippers will in the future choose sustainable sea transport for their environmentally friendly products.

“As CO2 emissions will be a part of the product labeling, mode of transport becomes increasingly important,” he says. “It makes sense that eco-efficient new cars are transported to their markets by eco-efficient ships.”


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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson

Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor specializing in international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He is based in San Francisco, where he provides a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. He may be reached at his downtown office: [email protected].

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