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NYK with Cargill to Test Its First Wingsails on a Bulker

wingsail on bulker
NYK working with Cargill will test two wingsails on one of existing bulkers (NYK)

Published Jul 25, 2023 4:01 PM by The Maritime Executive

Japan’s NYK Line is becoming the latest ship operator to test wind-assisted propulsion on their large vessels. They join other Japanese majors including Mitsui O.S.K. and K Line which are testing different forms of wind-assisted propulsion technology. 

The test project will be carried out with one of NYK’s existing 82,000 dwt bulkers. The company released a picture of the NBA Magritte, built in 2013 by Tsuneishi while referring to the ship in the project as the NBA Atlantic. The 751-foot vessel is a standard seven-hatch kamsarmax bulker.

NYK selected a wingsail concept known as the VentoFoil from Ecowind. The company has previously installed some of its wingsails on smaller North Sea bulkers, The also recently announced a new concept that would place the wingsail and its equipment in a container meaning it would be mobile and could be easily installed on existing vessels.

The plan calls for installing two of the wingsails aboard the bulker. Each stands about 52 off the deck and will be placed on top of a 20-foot-long flat rack container with no walls that will permit the wing to be folded down when not in use. NYK points to several advantages of the technology including the VentoFoil is smaller than similar equipment, keeping it more out of the way of cargo handling. It is also easy to install and relocate.

Like an airplane wing, VentoFoil creates propulsion with the pressure difference on both sides of the wing. The unit takes in wind through its suction port and obtains greater propulsion by amplifying the pressure difference. NYK is saying that the units are expected to help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during vessel navigation.

The NYK ship will be operated by NYK Bulkship will be sailing under a long-term charter to Cargill International. Cargill has been moving forward aggressively testing different forms of alternative power to reduce emissions from ships transporting it materials. Working with Mitsubishi Corporation, BAR Technologies, and Yara Marine Technologies, reported that they would be installing BAR’s windwings on another bulker this year as part of a project that began in 2019. Working with Danish shipping company J. Lauritzen, Cargill will charter methanol-fueled bulkers being built by Tsuneishi Shipbuilding. The vessels are due to enter service 2025 and 2026.

NBA Atlantic will be used in a test project that will collect data on the propulsion generated by the wingsail, in addition to meteorological and ocean conditions during navigation. Working with Cargill, NYK says it will measure the unit’s effectiveness. The NYK Group will utilize the knowledge gained in this research and development to promote initiatives related to various energy-saving technologies, including the use of wind power.