what we deliver

PROPELWIND  zero emission technology for the shipping industry

  1. 1.Wind for main propulsion

        PROPELWIND aims to develop an economically viable, wind-based ship propulsion concept, intended to solve the main disadvantages of old sailing ships: too slow,

        unpredictable  ETA and large crews requirements.

        The core innovation is to use proven, cutting-edge sailboat racing technology. The concept is a result of teaming up with world-class experts in race technology from

        Brittany (France). The rigid articulated wing-sail used in high-tech sailing competition (America’s Cup) was selected as the basic device, instead of classic soft sails.

        It offers 5 major advantages: aerodynamic efficiency, unlimited height, easy use, no structural wear and  automatical operation.

        An extensive study was completed in 2011, demonstrating the feasibility of using the wind for main propulsion, based on performance calculations by state-of-the art

        CFD's (integrating hydro- and aerodynamics), structural FEM's and wingsail engineering. Every aspect was systematically verified by independent institutions.

        The results show that a suitable wingsail set can propel a 10,000 dwt ship during 90% of the time, drastically reducing fuel costs and emissions by a factor between

        10 and 15, while maintaining a commercially acceptable average speed on reasonably favourable routes.

At present, PROPELWIND is actively preparing a new concept of fast trimarans using wind propulsion to reach 20 knots average on favorable routes

2. Wind for assistance to propulsion

        Recently, PROPELWIND has completed for a large Dutch shipowner a comprehensive study to evaluate the fuel saving on an existing commercial ship using primarily

        the main engine for propulsion and a set of wingsails for wind assistance. Extended simulations have been carried out on a regular commercial route, back and forth.

        This round-trip route cannot be considered as entirely favourable because it contains one unfavourable leg (upwind). Nevertheless, the average fuel saving is 30%, with

        23% on the mainly upwind leg and 37% on the other one.

        The excellent upwind capability of the wingsail allows the saving device to operate efficiently through a large wind angle range, which in turn extends vastly the application

        field of the concept: it is not limited in assistance mode only to favourable routes. 

        In addition, 30% represents a drastic reduction, compared to the numerous ESD's (Energy Saving Device) presently on the market, each individually offering a few %,

        making it very difficult even to measure the effect. 

PROPELWIND is also working on projects using the « suction sail » from the CRAIN (Centre de Recherche pour l’Architecture et l’Industrie Nautiques, La Rochelle, France - http://site.craintechnologies.com ). This device offers up to 20% fuel saving, with less height than the rigid wing sail, and without fast rotation like the FLETTNER rotor.

  1. 3.Development target

        The solid interest for such "wind power" concepts starts to grow slowly in the industry so PROPELWIND is planning to continue the R&D effort by extensive engineering

        and testing of an industrial version of the wingsail until reaching proof of concept and commercial readiness, and to develop and market wind propulsion solutions for the

        shipping industry.

  1. 4.Toolbox polyvalence

        Typical calculations required to evaluate the performances of a wind-project are:

                -    effect of the wind-engine on ship propulsion, stability and sea-keeping;

                -    location, number and size of the appendages (center boards, rudders);

                -    wind routing

                -    extreme weather conditions: loading, wind engine behaviour

        This toolbox is available in-house and its application is not limited to an evaluation of the wingsail alone, but can be applied to a large extent to any other type of wind


        In order to enlarge its offering service to the industry, PROPELWIND will offer to evaluate and propose wind-propulsion solutions for both main- and assistance to

        propulsion, new or retrofit and not only based on the wingsail but also on other suitable wind engines.

  1. 5.Potential Market study

        The viability of the project depends on the size of the potential market for wind engines. There is today no established wind-propulsion technology for cargo ships available,

        except soft sails for relatively small cruise ships, and kites on a few cargo vessels.

        The double purpose of this study by PROPELWIND is:

                -    to evaluate as accurately as possible the size of the potential market of wind engines, in general and for each type / size of ships, based on real considerations

                     on cargo ships, without restriction to one specific device. This order of magnitude in turn should be the basis for marketing efforts, financial forecasts and business

                     plan for any selected wind engine production unit;

                -    to set the priorities in the development of the project, i.e. concentrating the engineering, R&D and marketing efforts on the customers (shipowners / shipyards)

                     involved in the most appropriate types and sizes of ships.

        As a rule, all the estimates and assumptions are intentionally kept conservative.

At present, The study has been reviewed by selected shipping industry experts

  1. 6.International Windship Association

        Together with 2 other windship project developers, we initiated the International Windship Association (IWSA - www.wind-ship.org), aiming at representing the different

        projects as an industry sector. The first General Assembly was held in London on Oct. 16, 2014 and the press release was issued on Nov. 17, 2014.

        PROPELWIND is in charge of the workstream "Technical Standards, Rules, Certifications"; kick-off meeting on Jan. 19, 2015 at TU Delft.