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Global Supply Chain News: Retrofitted Cargo Ship uses Vertical Sails to Reduce Diesel Fuel Consumption



30% Lower Fuel and CO2 is Target, as Ship Makes Maiden Voyage in Asia

August 29, 2023

As far as we can tell. SCDigest first started reporting on the potential to use large vertical sails on top of cargo ship decks to harness wind power to reduce energy consumption of bunker fuel, which is a big CO2 creator, in 2017.

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Cargill hopes to use the new ships to win customers that value its moves to reduce CO2  

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That was followed by an even simpler version that just used parasails to help propel a ship. (See Back to the Future, as Parasails Might Help Reduce Cargo Ship Fuel Usage 20%).

Not much news since then until last week, when we saw an announcement of the maiden voyage of a sail-powered cargo ship, said to reduce fuel consumption and hence emissions by as much as 30%.

The ship was created by Europe's BAR Technologies, with the launch coming three years after plans for the ship were first unveiled.

In developing the ship, BAR collaborated with agricultural giant Cargill, ship maker Mitsubishi Corporation and Norway’s Yara Marine Technologies.

The ship involved is named the Pyxix Ocean, and it sailed 3,500 miles from Shanghai to Singapore after a Chinese ship yard retrofitted the six-year old ship with a the new sails.

The sails are called “WindWings.” They are foldable steel and fiber glass sails that stand at approximately 37.5 meters high and are attached to the deck of cargo ships to harness the power of wind, as can be seen below.

The Pyxix Ocean has been functioning as a regular cargo ship since being built by Mitsubishi in 2017.

BAR's said the design was focused on fuel efficiency.

Partner Yara Marine Technologies said that “We expect to generate average fuel savings of up to 30% on new build vessels, which are to be used in commercial shipping.”

BAR noted that total international shipping as an industry produces more emissions than all of Germany, claiming that if it was a nation, it would be the sixth worst polluter of CO2 in the world.

(See More Below)







The designers expect the power will reduce the reliance on diesel-powered engines, significantly reducing the amount of pollutants produced.

Cargill hopes to use the new ships to win customers that value its moves to reduce CO2.

Jan Dieleman, a Cargill president said in a statement that “The partnership would allow the business to provide the clients seeking to lower emissions from their supply chain with a bespoke solution.”

He added that “this partnership, we will bring bespoke wind solutions to customers who are actively seeking to reduce CO2 emissions from their supply chain.”

The initial rollout will be on product tankers before being added to dry bulk vessels. It is unclear whether the technology can be used for container ships, which store containers on deck.

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