DFDS tests aluminium sail concept

Econowind and Green Shipping project installed on Lysbris Seaways.

Econowind sail concept

A metal sail in a box could be a solution to save fuel and emissions in shipping by utilising the power of the wind that nearly all ships once relied on.

A prototype from Dutch company Econowind was installed on the deck of Lysbris Seaways on Wednesday 13 November in Amsterdam. It's a foldable aluminium twin-sail concept that sits on the deck of a vessel. It comes in a 40-foot container and is a far cry from historic sail designs, as two metallic 10-metre foils, or wings, fold out with the press of a button. The design and software let the wings move to optimally catch the wind and help propel the vessel forward, much more efficiently than equipment.

Poul Woodall, Director of Environment, and Vidar Karlsen, Managing Director in Norway, signed the agreement in September for the collaboration with Econowind and Green Shipping Programme (Grønt Skipsfartsprogram or GSP), a Norwegian programme for research into, and development of, green shipping solutions. GSP delivers a theoretical modelling of historic weather data, consumption, routes and more that we use for testing.

The perfect testing ground

Vidar says: “Lysbris Seaways is perfect for testing such a concept. In theory it looks like a good idea, but we need to see if the estimated fuel savings are realistic for this type of vessel. We are going to measure fuel consumption with the sail and get a picture of the efficiency gained over time compared to the regular numbers.”

“The finalised design works automatically, meaning you can open the container from the bridge and open the sail, but for the prototype it’s a bit more hands-on with manual controls and a service engineer present to operate the system. After a successful installation we are now looking forward to seeing the outcome of the two months of testing,” Vidar adds.

Sofie Hebeltoft, Head of CSR, says: “With projects like this we take responsibility for developing new energy sources and methods of propulsion that can take us towards cleaner ships and eventually zero emission shipping. We are therefore extremely grateful for initiatives such as this taken by Vidar and his team.”

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