Thursday, January 21, 2021

Another Wind Assisted Vessel Takes to the Waves

New Technology for an Ancient System
Shipping News Feature

NETHERLANDS – SWEDEN – WORLDWIDE – Another merchant vessel kitted out to harness the wind has made its maiden voyage after the owners, Boomsma Shipping BV, agreed to equip it with two eConowind VentiFoil wind-assisted propulsion units, having signed a contract Covid-style eight months previously.

Boomsma thus joins other shipping groups such as Maersk, Stena and K Line to name but a few, in trialling Flettner style rotors and similar technologies. The Dutch flagged MV Frisian Sea, a 6,477dwt general cargo vessel has made its maiden voyage to Vasteras, Sweden with the VentiFoils in operation, during which eConowind has been conducting the start-up tests. The coming month will be used to optimise the system and operations and train the crew.

Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, both companies worked closely together to manage the installation during a port call in Harlingen. Johan Boomsma, co-owner of Boomsma Shipping, commented:

"We believe it is necessary and very important to meet sustainability challenges to reduce our environmental footprint. Together with the IMO decarbonisation goals for 2050 we want to do our part to reduce our fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as soon as possible.”

The VentiFoils (Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion Units) by eConowind are designed as optimal compact (non-rotating) wing profiles, creating superior thrust by means of the principle of boundary-layer-suction, for which ventilators are mounted inside the VentiFoils. Due to the generated thrust by the eConowind unit, the thrust of the propeller can be reduced to maintain the same speed leading to fuel savings and emission reductions.

The new eConowind Flatrack design has the flexibility of a container, being movable by the hatch crane, needs limited installation time and has possibility for use on several vessels. With this system the units can be positioned just in front of the superstructure during loading etc. Tessa Remery, project coordinator observed:

“With the help of the Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion (WASP) project, part of the EU Interreg North Sea region program, we will now test the performance during the coming two years. This innovative technology has to work in our daily operations with various wind conditions. We hope to find savings to be in the region of 10%.“

The WASP (Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion) project is funded by the Interreg North Sea Europe program, part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and brings together universities and wind-assist technology providers with ship owners to research, trial and validate the operational performance of a selection of wind propulsion solutions. Ton Boomsma, co-owner and CTO of the company, said:

“The installation of the Flatrack solution was relatively easy. We now expect they will give optimal results on our ship. Once the crew gets some experience, we expect no trouble in handling the systems using our hatch cranes.”

Wind power is being increasingly seen as a way to assist companies improve the environmental performance of their vessels. Whilst even the most optimistic view the systems as an additional aid, rather than a main power source, they may have the ability to shave a substantial percentage from a vessel’s fuel use. Frank Nieuwenhuis, CEO of eConowind added:

“We are delighted we managed the production and installation during this troubled year, working closely with the team at Boomsma Shipping. We shook hands ‘Covid-style’ after Ton Boomsma inspected the unit prior to shipment to the installation site. The new Flatrack design based on Boomsma’s concept will now be added to our product portfolio as a standard product and has the possibility for use on several vessels.”

Photo: The maiden trip of the Frisian Sea with Ventifoils deployed