Dutch owner takes the plunge with new wind technology

Van Dam Shipping has signed a contract for the installation of an eConowind propulsion system on its 3,600 dwt general cargo vessel Ankie. The Spijk, Netherlands-based company will take delivery of the Ventifoil system in the final quarter of this year.

For eConowind, located in Groningen, Netherlands, it is the first commercial order of its Ventifoil system which successfully completed sea test trials earlier this year. The wind-assist system was developed over the past three years supported by an EU-backed grant.

“We are seeking ‘econology’ for shipping: good for ecology but must be economical as well. After several years of development and testing we are very happy to take this next big step: a first commercial installation to show that saving energy and emissions can mean saving money at the same time. We are confident that such an innovative company as van Dam Shipping will manage to get the most out of the system and we are really excited to share the results in the coming months.” stated Frank Nieuwenhuis, CEO of eConowind.

The modular Ventifoil units are in the form of a non-rotating wing with vents and an internal fan that uses boundary layer suction for maximum effect. This installation will feature two, 10-meter wings along with two extensions of 6 m that will generate significant force allowing the vessel to reduce motor power and thus save energy.

“We expect the reduction in fuel costs over a period of approximately three years will equal the costs of the system and thus fulfill our dream of using the wind again in modern shipping, which has been 40 years in the making,” said Jan van Dam, owner of van Dam Shipping

Van Dam Shipping will participate in further testing the concept in the new EU-backed Wind-Assist Ship Propulsion (WASP) research program, which from next month will study practical use of wind-assisted systems in day-to-day operations as well as actual savings over an extended period of time.

Van Dam Shipping is a family-run business with eight vessels in its fleet, six of which are focused on the Finnish trades.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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