MS Beluga SkySails of WINTECC Project To Achieve Another Milestone

by OldSailor on January 10, 2008


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Mariners are not new to sails or wind. As the sea trade traffic is increasing due to globalisation, air pollution by the cargo ships is also increasing. To reduce air pollution by ships, EU co funded WINTECC project has taken shape to make use of vast wind energy available at sea to propel the cargo ships. The 140m long cargo vessel belonging to the Beluga Group MS Beluga SkySails is getting ready for sea trials. The project will verify whether the SkySails towing kite system can reduce the fuel consumption and the emissions of climate damaging gases. Small crafts such as SolarSailor using Solar and Wind energy for propulsion are already in use.

WINTECC (wind propulsion technology for cargo vessels), 42 months duration project at a total cost of 4,115,882 Euro (co-funding by the EU:1,212,685 Euro) was started in January 01, 2006 and is expected to complete by June 30, 2009. WINTECC aims to demonstrate the innovative wind propulsion technology for cargo vessels and the wave monitoring system (WaMoS II). An automatically controlled towing kite system will be used and tested during regular operation of a cargo vessel in the first full-scaled application. Also the project is aiming to collect, measure and obtain data of the sea state surroundings of the cargo ship as well as of its movements. The WaMoS II system from OceanWaves collects all of this data via sensors for the whole duration of the period.

WINTECC expects by using SkySails

  • Fuel costs can be reduced by 10-35% annually, depending on the type of the ship and the actual wind conditions.
  • Fuel consumption can temporarily be reduced by up to 50 % under optimal wind conditions.

WINTECC Objectives:

  • Demonstration of the energy and greenhouse gas savings achievable by the towing kite system
  • Practicability, profitability and durability of the technology
  • Proof that the towing kite does not exert any negative influences on the ship and its cargo
  • Evidence that the kite system works under different meteorological circumstances (e.g. rough water)
  • Evaluation of the influence of the kite technology on the ship movements by analysing data of a wave monitoring system and motion sensors aboard the vessel
  • Evaluation of the accuracy of weather forecasts and the local wind situation by using a wave monitoring system
  • Wide-spread dissemination of the project results to launch the technology

WINTECC Milestones:

  • 15/09/2007 – Delivery and acceptance of a remodelled cargo vessel ready for the installation of the towing kite & WaMoS II
  • 31/12/2007 – Mid-term report
  • 30/04/2008 – Acceptance of the towing kite-system and WaMoS II by the classification society (GL) and the government safety organisation (See-BG), (Go / No-Go criteria within mid term report)
  • 30/01/2009 – Report of intermediate results on energy savings and greenhouse gas reduction
  • 30/09/2009 – Final report

MS Beluga SkySails

The Multi Purpose Heavy Lift Carrier, also the first commercial cargo ship with additional propulsion by a towing kite system was was ceremonially christened as MS “Beluga SkySails” by the Beluga Group in Hamburg on Saturday, 15 December 2007. All components of the SkySails-System have been installed on deck. The cargo vessel can now “set sail” for the very first time – starting with a towing kite of 160 square metres in size to achieve 10 to 15 percent less bunker consumption. Later,when the sail is scaled up to 320 square metres to increase efficiency on the high seas, potential savings of 20 to 30 percent are definitely feasible and realistic. There are further plans to use up to sails of 600 square metres.

The ship has been designed by considering the following

  • no bothersome masts on deck
  • no restriction of stowage space
  • no hindrances to loading and discharging
  • no risk to the crew, cargo or ship
  • reliable overall performance

Photographs of MS Beluga SkySails



Route of the maiden voyage of MS Beluga SkySails


Update: March 24

MS Beluga SkySails successfully completes 12,000 miles round trip. Click here to read more. Also read from Beluga-Group.

Update: October 12

For the first time, the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) has chartered MV Beluga SkySails to carry military equipment. MV Beluga SkySails departed Newport, Wales, on October 05 after the first of three European port calls to load U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force cargo before the ship’s month-long voyage to the United States. Read more from U.S.Navy.

View a video clip of a sail in the sky

Sources:wintecc, skysails, beluga-group

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