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DNV: Wind propulsion for RoRo, RoPax and pax vessels

DNV discusses the growing support for wind-assisted propulsion from first movers in shipping industry and presents examples of how it is adapted in RoRo and RoPax segment.





Classification society DNV on Thursday (8 June) released a Maritime Impact report on wind-assisted propulsion for ships and presents examples of how it is adapted in the RoRo and RoPax segment:

The shipping world is looking for the right answers to the decarbonization challenge, and wind-assisted propulsion is seeing growing support from innovators and first movers across the industry. DNV presents three promising technologies adapted in the RoRo and RoPax segment.

As carbon emission limits get tighter and the zero-carbon goal moves closer, shipowners and ship operators are seeing more questions than answers about the ship-propulsion technology of a decarbonized tomorrow. Amid this uncertainty, one thing remains certain: There will always be wind – enough for everyone. “Wind has propelled ships for thousands of years, interrupted only for one brief, wasteful century of burning fossil fuels,” says Hasso Hoffmeister, Senior Principal Engineer at DNV. “So more people are asking: Why not use wind again?” 

Advanced wind technology to the fore!

Today’s transport volumes are infinitely larger than those at the height of the windjammer era. Yesterday’s wind technology won’t do – wind propulsion must be reinvented using every bit of advanced engineering, material science, computer modelling and automation technology that is available. “DNV has a long history of wind expertise to draw from and supports modern visionaries who are ready to take the first step,” Hoffmeister emphasizes. “Ro-ro, ro-pax and pax ships are well suited for wind propulsion because they are comparatively lightweight, don’t travel at very high speeds, and typically have the open deck area required for sails, often with the superstructure in front so there are no line-of-sight issues,” he explains. It’s all a matter of making the leap of faith and trying things out that may look a bit unusual at first. Tomorrow’s wind propulsion won’t be “romantic” – but it can be impressive and harbour plenty of potential to reduce fuel costs and emissions, as these three examples show: 

Oceanbird: the vertical airplane wing

The Oceanbird concept idea was developed in a research project between Wallenius Marine, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and SSPA/RISE, with support from the Swedish Transport Administration. A crucial part of the concept is of course the rigid wing sails. To develop the wing sails into a marketable product, Wallenius and Alfa Laval formed the new company AlfaWall Oceanbird in December 2021.  

The technical team at AlfaWall Oceanbird improved the design from the telescoping wing sail to a two-part articulated design reminiscent of a vertical airplane wing with a flap. “The flap creates an adjustable camber that can generate much more thrust than our previous wing sail concept,” explains Niclas Dahl, Managing Director of Oceanbird. “This new design allows us to achieve the same propulsion force with a much smaller sail – which is more sustainable by reducing material use.” The Oceanbird sail is hinged and can be tilted down to clear overhead obstacles and keep the ship stable in a storm. 

Visionary technology to reduce fuel dependency

The next major step towards bringing the Oceanbird sail to full maturity will be a full-sized prototype installed on land to study its behaviour and operation, test the automated control system and train future operators. This will be followed by a prototype installation onboard Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s vessel Tiranna. “These are important steps that will allow us to learn,” says Dahl. “Our ultimate vision is to change the shipping industry. We see a very strong possibility for a technology that we know works and can be used effectively by employing advanced technologies. Wind assist avoids inescapable dependency on alternative fuels. Wind is a completely free and fully sustainable ‘fuel’.” 

EU funding supports the ship development project

In January 2023, the EU Horizon Europe funding programme for research and innovation approved 9 million euros of funding for the Orcelle Wind project, which aims to develop and build a 220-metre wind-powered ro-ro vessel to be commissioned in late 2026 or early 2027. Eleven industry and academic partners, including Oceanbird and DNV, are collaborating in the project, addressing all aspects from the sails and their fully automated control system to hull design, safety and crew training. The Pure Car and Truck Carrier will transport over 7,000 vehicles across the oceans. 

Wind: sustainable, inexhaustible and predictable

AlfaWall Oceanbird’s Technical Director Mikael Razola points out: “Everybody will be competing for the alternative fuels, but nobody competes for wind. Wind is inexhaustible and actually quite predictable.” Furthermore, the investment, operating and maintenance costs of wing sails will soon be known whereas predicting the future costs associated with other fuels is difficult, says Dahl. It shouldn’t be forgotten, he adds, that there is a certain “wow!” factor: “Sails are good for the environment, good for CII compliance, and very visible to the public who can see you are doing something for the environment.” 

Demonstrating a compelling business case for wind propulsion

“Wind is a no-brainer,” concludes Razola. “I imagine a future of autonomous sailing vessels travelling the oceans virtually without energy costs – a vision that is not completely utopian from today’s perspective.” All this hinges on the ability to demonstrate a compelling business case, says Dahl. “You harvest what is there already, without any specific environmental risks – and you don’t even need a fuel supply infrastructure!” 

WISAMO: Michelin’s inflatable wing sail

The idea of an inflatable wing sail was first conceived by a group of sailing enthusiasts in Switzerland and soon adopted by French tyre manufacturer Michelin as a great way to expand its broad research and innovation programme. WISAMO – Wing Sail Mobility – is the name of the company’s initiative to develop this concept to full maturity. An initial prototype installed on a small sailboat 20 months ago has been tested successfully by the seasoned French sailing pro Michel Desjoyeaux, reports Gildas Quemeneur who heads the WISAMO initiative. “Some of the great advantages of this sail include its low weight and upwind efficiency – you can sail much closer to the wind than with a conventional sail. The design is simple, with a small number of components and very few connecting points. The textile material forms a stack of internal air chambers, held up by a telescoping, fully retractable mast and inflated by a fan.”  

Collecting data on a demonstrator

A number of additional trials must be performed before the system is ready for use on cargo ships, says Quemeneur: A demonstrator wing sail is currently being tested on the RoRo ship MN Pélican, owned by WISAMO cooperation partner Compagnie Maritime Nantaise. “This is a scale model with a surface area of 100 square metres, so the scale is 1 to 5,” says Quemeneur. “We are fitting many measuring devices to gather performance data and sharpen our simulation and prediction tools. We will also use it to test the mechanical components and operation.” 

Low-pressure system minimizes stresses and energy needs

The sail uses low air pressure, which keeps the mechanical stresses on the fabric low. The shape of the sail is maintained by lightweight horizontal stays between the air compartments. Especially in the upper portion of the sail it is crucial to control the rigidity, says Quemeneur. “While a significant air volume is needed to inflate the sail, maintaining the internal pressure takes very little energy,” he explains. “System safety is ensured by the fully automated control system which measures the wind and retracts the sail when the load limit is reached at wind speeds of around 55 knots. The textile material is expected to last 6 to 8 years and should be easy to replace.” He adds that the collapsed sail neatly fits into a stowage compartment that can be rotated out of the way of cranes and hatch covers. 

Technical maturity builds confidence in ROI

During the second half of 2024, WISAMO will install a full-scale sail on land for further tests. “After evaluating the results, we will look for an early adopter to install a full set of our sails on a ship and determine how the sails interact with each other and the vessel,” says Quemeneur. “For the future commercial success of our system, it will be essential to reach full technical maturity and achieve a high level of confidence in the ROI.” DNV, who has been accompanying the project, has granted Approval in Principle for the system, an important step for WISAMO. Gildas expects a set of sails to generate 15 to 20 per cent of propulsion power when retrofitted, and 50 per cent or more on a custom “wind-powered cargo”-type newbuild. 

Note: The full DNV Maritime Impact report titled ‘Wind propulsion for RoRo, RoPax and pax vessels’ can be found here.


Photo credit: Oceanbird / DNV
Published: 14 June, 2023

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Singapore: EMA, MPA shortlist two consortia for ammonia power generation and bunkering

Chosen consortia are Keppel’s Infrastructure Division and Sembcorp-SLNG, and the bunkering players in these consortia are Itochu Corporation, NYK Line and Sumitomo Corporation.





RESIZED bunker tanker singapore

The Energy Market Authority (EMA) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Thursday (25 July) said they have shortlisted two consortia that will proceed to the next round of evaluations of proposals to provide a low- or zero-carbon ammonia solution on Jurong Island for power generation and bunkering. 

The two consortia were selected from a total of six that were earlier shortlisted in 2023 to participate in a restricted Request for Proposal (RFP), following an Expression of Interest (EOI) called in 2022. The bids were assessed based on the technical, safety and commercial aspects of their proposals. 

The two consortium leads are Keppel’s Infrastructure Division and Sembcorp-SLNG, and the bunkering players in these consortia are Itochu Corporation, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) and Sumitomo Corporation. The two consortia will proceed to conduct engineering, safety and emergency response studies for the proposed Project.

At the next phase, we will select one of the two bidders as the lead developer of the project. The lead developer will develop the end-to-end ammonia solution comprising (i) generating 55 to 65 MW of electricity from imported low- or zero-carbon ammonia via direct combustion in a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine; and (ii) facilitating ammonia bunkering at a capacity of at least 0.1 million tons per annum (MTPA), starting with shore-to-ship bunkering followed by ship-to-ship bunkering. 

Given the nascency of the technology and global supply chains, the Government will work closely with the appointed lead developer to implement the Project. We aim to announce the lead developer by Q1 2025.

The project is part of Singapore’s National Hydrogen Strategy launched in 2022, which outlines Singapore’s approach to develop low-carbon hydrogen as a major decarbonisation pathway as part of the nation’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

A key thrust of this strategy is to experiment with the use of advanced hydrogen technologies that are on the cusp of commercial readiness. Ammonia is currently one of the most technologically-ready hydrogen carriers with an established international supply chain for industrial use.

“If successful, the project will position Singapore as one of the first countries in the world to deploy a direct ammonia combustion power plant and support the development of ammonia bunkering for international shipping, EMA and MPA said.

“This will help to unlock the potential of low-carbon ammonia as a low-carbon fuel.”


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 25 July 2024

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LNG Bunkering

China: River-sea LNG bunkering vessel named and delivered in Shanghai

The 14,000 cubic metre ship, “Huaihe Nengyuan Qihang”, was independently developed, designed and built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) for Huaihe Energy Holding Group.





China: River-sea LNG bunkering vessel named and delivered in Shanghai

China’s river-to-sea LNG bunkering vessel, which was built locally, was named and delivered in Shanghai on Monday (19 July), according to the Shanghai Association of Shipbuilding Industry (SASIC). 

The 14,000 cubic metre (cbm) ship, Huaihe Nengyuan Qihang, was independently developed, designed and built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co., Ltd for Huaihe Energy Holding Group as part of China’s "Gasification of the Yangtze River” project.

The ship is capable of travelling through the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge all year round and has been dubbed a “Customised Yangtze River” LNG refuelling and transportation ship.

The ship is equipped with the B-type LNG containment system independently developed by Hudong-Zhonghua and authorised by a national patent.

According to SASIC, this was the first time such a system has been applied to a domestic LNG  refuelling and transportation ship, marking a major breakthrough in the B-type LNG containment system developed by China with independent intellectual property rights.

Related: China’s first river-sea LNG bunkering ship completes inaugural bunkering operation

Disclaimer: The above article published by Manifold Times was sourced from China’s domestic market through a local correspondent. While considerable efforts have been taken to verify its accuracy through a professional translator and processed from sources believed to be reliable, no warranty is made regarding the accuracy, completeness and reliability of any information.


Photo credit: Shanghai Shipbuilding Industry Association
Published: 25 July 2024

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Singapore: EPS takes delivery of LNG dual-fuel bulker “Mount Ossa”

Firm said said the last vessel in its series of six 210,000 dwt DF LNG Newcastlemaxes chartered to Rio Tinto, was successfully delivered by New Times Shipbuilding.





Singapore: EPS takes delivery of LNG dual-fuel bulker “Mount Ossa”

Singapore-based shipping firm Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Wednesday (24 July) said the last vessel in its series of six 210,000 dwt dual-fuel LNG Newcastlemaxes chartered to Rio Tinto, was successfully delivered.

The delivery of Mount Ossa marked the 21st vessel being delivered by New Times Shipbuilding to EPS.

“Despite global challenges, Rio Tinto and EPS have shown unparalleled resilience and a strong commitment to decarbonize shipping,” it said in a social media post.

“Over the past three years, these LNG-powered vessels have proven to be a sustainable choice, emitting 30% less than their conventional counterparts. We have successfully completed over 200 LNG bunkering operations, significantly reducing emissions across our fleet.”

“We celebrate our strong partnership with New Times Shipbuilding on this 21st milestone delivery to the EPS fleet, grateful to have 43 world-class vessels built and delivered, including those on order from New Times, which means we are only halfway through our esteemed collaboration.”


Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 25 July 2024

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