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Modern sails set to revolutionise maritime industry

On an average global route, 1.5 tonnes of fuel can be saved per WindWing per day, with the possibility of saving more on trans ocean routes. (Image source: Cargill)

A new lower-carbon path has been set ahead of the maritime industry with the debut of WindWings, large wing sails measuring up to 45 m in height that bring cutting-edge wind propulsion to commercial shipping

The solution is the work of Cargill and BAR Technologies who partnered to help the maritime industry reduce its GHG production in line with the IMO 2050 targets. WindWings combines wind propulsion with route optimisation and holds the capacity to increase vessel fuel efficiency by 30%. 

Mitsubishi Corporation’s Pyxis Ocean has become the first vessel retrofitted with two WindWings which have been manufactured by industrialisation partner Yara Marine Technologies. After the installation of the wings at the COSCO shipyard in China, the Pyxis Ocean is now conducting its maiden voyage. 

“The maritime industry is on a journey to decarbonise – it's not an easy one, but it is an exciting one,” said Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill’s Ocean transportation business. “At Cargill we have a responsibility to pioneer decarbonising solutions across all our supply chains to meet our customer’s needs and the needs of the planet. A technology like WindWings doesn’t come without risk, and as an industry leader – in partnership with visionary shipowner MC Shipping – we are not afraid to invest, take those risks and be transparent with our learnings to help our partners in maritime transition to a more sustainable future.”

The WindWings project is co-funded by the European Union as part of the CHEK Horizon 2020 initiative and the performance of the sails over the coming months will be closely monitored by associated stakeholders. The results posted by the Pyxis Ocean voyage will be used to inform the scale-up and adoption across Cargill’s fleet and beyond – BAR Technologies is already planning to build hundreds of wings over the next four years. 

John Cooper, CEO of BAR Technologies, remarked, “If international shipping is to achieve its ambition of reducing CO2 emissions, then innovation must come to the fore. Wind is a near marginal cost-free fuel and the opportunity for reducing emissions, alongside significant efficiency gains in vessel operating costs, is substantial. Today is the culmination of years of pioneering research, where we’ve invested in our unique wind sail technology and sought out a skilled manufacturing partner in Yara Marine Technologies, in order to provide vessel owners and operators with an opportunity to realise these efficiencies.”

WindWings is not the only initiative being pioneered to step up sustainable shipping. Find out more at: