The design of a merchant ship with a hull shaped like an airfoil, which can “pull” itself through the ocean using just the power of the wind, is said to be capable of reducing fuel consumption by 60% and reducing emissions by 80%, and could herald a coming age of sustainable sea transport.
The Vindskip concept, from Lade AS, is a break from traditional large vessel design, and hinges on the effect of relative wind on the ship, which is usually a factor in designing airplanes and sailboats, not merchant vessels. But the designers behind the Vindskip, who recently patented its airfoil-shaped hull design, believe that it is a “revolutionary” way of thinking about the commercial vessels, and could cut both fuel costs and emissions.
“A vessel with a hull shaped like a symmetrical air foil going in the relative wind, will generate an aerodynamic lift giving a pull in the ships direction, within an angular sector of the course. This is Vindskip’s Wind Power System. The relative wind, measured on board a ship, is given by the ships course and speed and the direction and strength of the True Wind.
With an LNG-electric propulsion system as well, starting the ship from zero up to the desired speed, the aerodynamic lift now generated can be exploited to generate pull and thus saving fuel: Forming a dynamic system that maintains a constant speed of the ship.” – Lade AS
In addition to the unique design of the hull, the Vindskip is envisioned to also integrate a system that uses weather data and current conditions to calculate the optimal sailing route in order to best make use of the potential wind energy.
While this vessel is only a design concept at this point, the designers at Lade AS are offering their Vindskip design to ship owners, ship yards, or maritime consultancies for licensing or development.
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