SINGAPORE- A cargo ship fitted with Bar Tech WindWings by Yara Marine, an innovation by global commodity trader Cargill and Bar Technologies, has finally set sail.

The vessel set sail from Singapore and will sail to Brazil, and according to reliable news outlets, the ship is also likely to transport a cargo of grain to Denmark.

Mitsubishi Corporation’s Pyxis Ocean, chartered by Cargill, is the first vessel to be retrofitted with two WindWings – large wing sails measuring up to 37.5 meters in height that can be fitted to the deck of cargo ships.

The wind-powered sails are designed to cut fuel consumption and, consequently, the carbon footprint of shipping.

It is estimated the industry is responsible for about 2.1% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The WindWings could generate average fuel savings of up to 30% on new build vessels, which could increase significantly if combined with alternative fuels.

The maritime industry is on a journey to decarbonize – it’s not an easy one, but it is an exciting one. At Cargill, we have a responsibility to pioneer decarbonizing solutions across all our supply chains to meet our customer’s needs and the needs of the planet,” Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill’s Ocean Transportation business, commented.

Dieleman added: “A technology like WindWings doesn’t come without risk, and as an industry leader – in partnership with visionary shipowner Mitsubishi Corporation – we are not afraid to invest, take those risks, and be transparent with our learnings to help our partners in the maritime transition to a more sustainable future.”

John Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of BAR Technologies, commented that the company had invested a lot in their unique wind sail technology and sought out a skilled industrialization partner in Yara Marine Technologies to provide vessel owners and operators an opportunity to realize these efficiencies.

If international shipping is to achieve its ambition of reducing CO2 emissions, then innovation must come to the fore. The wind is a near-marginal cost-free fuel, and the opportunity for reducing emissions, alongside significant efficiency gains in vessel operating costs, is substantial,” Cooper remarked.

Cargill is one of the world’s biggest ship charterers and explores wind-assisted propulsion as one cleaner energy option.

The wind was a common way of propelling ships before the switch to steam and diesel engines but is now mostly used for smaller vessels.

It is risk-taking. There is no guarantee … that the economics are going to work. But it is up to us to show the industry what is possible and hopefully get some more people confident around this technology,” Jan Dieleman remarked.

The WindWings project, co-funded by the European Union as part of the CHEK (deCarbonising sHipping by Enabling Key technology symbiosis on real vessel concept designs) ‘Horizon 2020’ initiative, will help the industry meet energy transition targets for existing vessels.

On an average global route, WindWings can save 1.5 tonnes of fuel per WindWing per day – with the possibility of saving more on trans-ocean routes. It can translate into vessel owners saving heavy fuel oil at CAD 800 (approx. US$591) per tonne.

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