As a whole, the IMO (International Maritime Organziation) is under pressure to reduce fuel use and increase efficiency – recently setting targets to reduce CO2 emissions 50% by 2050 (compared to 2008 levels). At the same time, most of the products available to accomplish necessary reductions are costly to ship owners, time consuming to realize returns, or require new vessel construction or infrastructure modifications. The industry is already imposing low-sulphur fuels, a change estimated to increase fuel expenses by 50%, with more constraints set to come.
Wind + Wing Technologies has developed, and proven, an autonomous wing technology that offers hybrid propulsion for a reduction in fuel use-to the tune of 40%-60% on our first demonstration ferry vessel, partly funded by the state of California. Today we have our 2nd generation ferry demo vessel in the water, and this one is zero-emission, featuring a 75hp electric motor combined with an updated wing that is 2x as powerful, and going 2x as fast, cruising at 15-20kts.
Based on that tangible progress we turned our attention to commercial shipping, and we have designed and patented our Cargo Wing units – featuring the same autonomous, hard-wing sails, but re-packaged to fold in and out of a standard 40’ shipping container. With this, multiple units can be installed on existing ship or barge fleets today, scaled to fit specific routes, and can be loaded/unloaded using existing port facilities. We estimate a minimum of 10% fuel savings, with design elements that can take that to 30%. Also, by creating a modular installation we’ve flipped the business model from a cap-ex to an op-ex, helping bring flexibility to the business side of installations.
The power of the wind is real and renewable, and the savings are real. Our technologies have a role not only in today’s fleets – but also a future that includes autonomous shipping.