Alfa Laval and Wallenius to develop tech for wind-powered vessels

Alfa Laval, a Swedish engineering firm, is collaborating with its compatriot Wallenius Marine to develop wind propulsion technologies for cargo ships and other ship types, with the first system expected to be onboard within five years.

A 50/50 joint venture, called AlfaWall Oceanbird, initially plans to install wing sails on a transatlantic car carrier with a capacity of 7,000 units. The solution should cut emissions by up to 90% compared to today’s most energy-efficient vessels at an average speed of 10 knots.

Wallenius developed the Oceanbird concept in co-operation with KTH and SSPA in the wPCC (wind powered car carrier) project. The concept envisions a vessel outfitted with five 80-meter-high wing sails.

While the technology is initially developed for cargo vessels, the two companies aim to expand it to cruise liners and other vessels based on market demand.

“Meeting the shipping industry’s decarbonisation ambition will require multiple new solutions. In this new joint venture, we will combine the expertise of Alfa Laval and Wallenius, enabling us to develop a completely new and innovative vessel type that can contribute to the decarbonisation targets,” said Tom Erixon, president and CEO of Alfa Laval.

“At Wallenius we are always striving to move the agenda for truly sustainable shipping,” said Jonas Kleberg, Chairman and CEO of Wallenius. “Just as we did with PureBallast, we will now bring Oceanbird into this partnership with Alfa Laval. Together we will provide a powerful solution for sustainable shipping.”

Earlier this year, Wallenius Wilhelmsen announced plans to build the world’s first full-scale wind-powered roro.

In France, Neoline is also working on a wind-powered cargo vessel, with construction set to commence this summer and commissioning targeted for the first half of 2024. Its French counterpart, Zéphyr & Borée, is working on what could be the world’s first sailing containership, complete with eight wing-sails, while tire manufacturer Michelin recently rolled out a telescopic, inflatable wing sail system.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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