23 September 2023
Wind propulsion kite specialist Airseas has completed the first installation of its automated Seawing on a commercial vessel.
Airseas has installed the first Seawing system on the vessel Ville de Bordeaux, chartered by Airbus and operated by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs. Particularly, the Ro-Ro ship transports major aircraft components between France and the United States. In this regard, it will deploy the 500m2 wind propulsion kite on its monthly transatlantic journeys from January 2022. From that point, it will start conducting six months of sea trials and testing ahead of its full operation.
Furthermore, the system has received formal approval from the classification society Bureau Veritas to begin operations at sea. This is followed by three years of close collaboration on the development and early trials of the Seawing.
Nonetheless, Airseas is unique in its integration of expertise from the aeronautical sector to the maritime industry. This includes innovative digital twin and automation technology. Therefore, the Seawing can be deployed, operated, and stored at the push of a button. Additionally, it can be retrofitted on a ship in 2 days.
Digital twin technology places the kite in its ideal flight window to maximize traction power and fuel savings. The wing adjusts its position depending on the wind direction and speed, as well as the ship’s speed and route. Hence, optimizing performance, thereby reducing engine effort and generating maximum savings.
Moreover, the full-size Seawing is a 1000m2 parafoil. Capable of flying at an altitude of 300 meters, capturing the strength of the wind to propel the vessel. Based on modeling and preliminary testing on land, Airseas estimates that the Seawing system will enable an average 20% reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
“A decade ago, we embarked on the ambitious project of channeling our unique aviation expertise towards creating a cleaner and more sustainable shipping industry. Today, I am beyond proud to see that vision becoming reality, with our first Seawing ready to make a tangible difference for our planet. This first installation marks a significant milestone not only for Airseas but also for wind and other renewable propulsion technologies in general. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, the world needs to see a drastic reduction in carbon emissions now. In shipping, we can achieve this by using the full set of tools we have available to us today. Wind propulsion is one of these and will play an essential role in helping shipping achieve its much-needed decarbonization transition.”Vincent Bernatets, CEO and Co-Founder of Airseas
“This important milestone follows three years of close and fruitful collaboration on the development and early trials of the Seawing, supporting Airseas’ safety-first approach and validating the reliability of the system. As a class society, Bureau Veritas has a key role to play to support safe innovation, and this is why we have developed comprehensive rules on wind propulsion systems earlier this year.”Laurent Leblanc, Senior Vice President Technical & Operations at Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore