BAR Technologies, a spin-off from Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), the British team formed by Olympic and World Champion sailor Sir Ben Ainslie, is bringing its expertise in wind propulsion technology from racing into commercial shipping to support the increasing demand for decarbonisation in the shipping industry.
“Commercial shipping seems a world away from cutting edge racing on land and sea at first glance,” says John Cooper, CEO, BAR Technologies. “BAR Technologies, however, provides the bridge between these worlds, drawing on its race team heritage and DNA to bring a unique mindset in order to tackle the huge challenge surrounding emissions reduction across the maritime sector,” Cooper says.
BAR Technologies has a team with design, simulation, and optimisation specialists from the highest echelons of elite yacht racing as well as from academic and maritime institutions, and control system engineers from Formula 1.
The company has introduced its patented WindWings technology, an alternative propulsion solution for larger vessels. The technology is supported with a route optimisation platform called ShipSEAT, a modelling and simulation tool developed by BAR Technologies. The company claims that with a retrofit of WindWings technology, owners and charterers can expect fuel savings of up to 25% per year, dependant on route. For newbuilds, the savings are expected to exceed 30%.
Cooper reckons the offshore wind energy sector supply chain has also seen pressure to decarbonise as a green energy source, and many large operators are already scrutinising new vessel tenders for low-carbon credentials, and crew transfer vessels (CTVs) have presented a challenge to decarbonisation because they often need to travel at speed to offshore locations, at increasingly greater distances.
BAR Technologies has also announced the design and order of the BARTech 30, a green crew transfer vessel which offers emissions 30% lower than conventional designs.
“These significant fuel savings create not only a compelling environmental case, with the same reductions in CO2 emissions, but also provide a solid business case with attractive payback periods against the upfront capital,” Cooper says.Talking about development challenges, Cooper says securing the buy-in from early adopters is always a challenge when it comes to new technology, regardless of industry.
“However, amidst sustainability, climate change and mounting regulations, the need for shipping to become greener has never been greater – with Cargill’s recent endorsement of WindWings to bring this groundbreaking technology to fruition is a significant step forward,” Cooper says.
Cargill and BAR Technologies are now working together on a strategic project with naval architect Deltamarin which will see BAR Technology’s WindWings fitted onto the deck of Cargill ‘s dry bulk ships.
According to Cooper, the company’s agreement with Cargill has provided a route map to bring its WindWings design to market, and the company also has a number of major projects in the works across the tanker and dry bulk sectors – the latter of which provides some additional challenges in the form of complex installation logistics in order to account for port handling operations.
“By combining our cutting-edge expertise with the financial and industrial network we have cultivated, we will be aiming to deliver the first concept to operation by the end of 2022,” Cooper reveals.
In the short and medium-term, Cooper says BAR Technologies will be focusing on the delivery of the first orders of WindWings, and also the build and delivery of the BAR Tech 30 crew transfer vessel, while the BAR Tech 50, the big sister to the BAR Tech 30, will also progress from concept to final design. The vessel is expected to be capable of high speed efficient transfer to offshore platforms, more remote wind farms or service operation vessels in higher sea conditions.