Eco Marine Power Device Increases Propulsive Force from Rigid Sails

Eco Marine Power
Aquarius incorporates rigid sails with solar or wind energy devices to maximize energy production (Eco Marine Power)

Published Jun 27, 2023 4:49 PM by The Maritime Executive

Japanese technology company Eco Marine Power has developed a new sail device that the company reports can increase the propulsive forces for rigid sails and protect rigid sails during cargo operations or storms. Unlike other rigid sail concepts which are only for use when a ship is underway, Eco Marine’s EnergySail is part of a larger system designed to be consistently operational to support vessels while at anchor or in port.

The new device is known as a Sailet and can be used in conjunction with the company’s EnergySail or as a standalone for sail-assisted propulsion or as an energy-saving device. Eco Marine reports it has applied for patents on the new device and expects it will be ready for sea trials early in 2024.

They report that computational fluid dynamics-based (CFD) studies have shown that by adjusting the orientation of the Sailet device they can alter the forces on a sail thereby acting as a form of load control. This effect is further enhanced when the device is linked to the computer-based automation and control system that Eco Marine Power has developed with several strategic partners as part of its EnergySail system and Aquarius energy-efficient ship design.


Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study during development of Sailet (Eco Marine Power)


Interest in sails is increasing in the shipping industry with several different technologies currently undergoing tests. One of the key considerations has been the effectiveness of the sail and how much additional energy can be created for the vessels. Some projections call for as little as eight to 10 percent while others project nearly a 30 percent energy boost. Increasing the propulsive force continues to be one of the key goals for rigid sail technology.

Eco Marine Power is working to develop a flexible platform for ship renewable energy technologies. The patented EnergySail is a rigid sail and wind-assisted propulsion device. It has been designed to withstand high winds or sudden micro-bursts. The EnergySail is also designed to be fitted with a range of renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaic (PV) modules or wind power devices to increase the energy produced. These additional capabilities also mean that the sail can provide energy for the ship while they are at anchor or in port.

The EnergySail concept is designed to be flexible so that it can be fitted to a wide range of vessels, including large Capesize bulk ore carriers, RoRo vessels, cruise ships, and naval and coastguard patrol vessels. It is also an integral part of Eco Marine Power’s Aquarius Eco Ship which combines the sail with the other energy devices and the Aquarius MRE system that integrates and manages the different energy systems on the vessel.

Eco Marine Power will be incorporating the Sailet into its rigid sail and solar power solution – Aquarius MRE. The company holds patents on its technology and in 2021 was granted Approval in Principle (AIP) by ClassNK for the renewable energy system for ships.