French company Airseas has completed the first installation of its automated kite Seawing on a commercial vessel, marking an important milestone in the deployment of wind-assisted technologies to curb emissions from shipping.
The first Seawing system has been installed on the vessel Ville de Bordeaux, chartered by Airbus, owned and operated by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs. The Ro-Ro ship, which transports major aircraft components between France and the United States, will deploy the 500-square-meter Seawing on its monthly transatlantic journeys from January 2022, conducting six months of sea trials and testing ahead of its full operation.
Airseas’ full-size Seawing is a 1000 meter-square parafoil that flies at an altitude of 300 meters, harnessing the power of the wind to propel the vessel. According to the developers, Seawing is activated at the push of a button and is 100% automated thanks to automation technologies from the aeronautical sector. It is simple to use, operated from the bridge, with minimal training required for crews to deploy and operate.
The wing automatically adjusts its position depending on the direction and speed of the wind, as well as the speed and route of the vessel. This optimizes performance, thereby reducing the load on the engine. Airseas estimates that the Seawing system will enable an average 20% reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Airseas has big plans for Seawing, set to become the most competitive shipping propulsion system based on renewable energy. The company hopes to implement it on 10% of the global fleet over the next decade.
“A decade ago, we embarked on the ambitious project of channeling our unique aviation expertise towards creating a cleaner and more sustainable shipping industry,” said Vincent Bernatets, CEO and Co-Founder of Airseas. “Today, I am beyond proud to see that vision becoming a reality, with our first Seawing ready to make a tangible difference for our planet. This first installation marks a significant milestone not only for Airseas, but also for wind and other renewable propulsion technologies in general. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, the world needs to see a drastic reduction in carbon emissions now. In shipping, we can achieve this by using the full set of tools we have available to us today. Wind propulsion is one of these and will play an essential role in helping shipping achieve its much-needed decarbonization transition.”