Oceanbird's First Wing Sail Nears Installation

Foundation components for Tirranna's wing sail on the top deck (Oceanbird)
Foundation components for Tirranna's wing sail on the top deck (Oceanbird)

Published Jun 30, 2024 2:44 PM by The Maritime Executive


Tirranna, a pure car truck carrier owned by Wallenius Wilhelmsen, is another step closer to getting a first-of-a-kind wing sail from Oceanbird. The careful work of installing the sail's foundation on Tirranna, which is serving as a testbed for the groundbreaking wind-assisted technology, was performed during the vessel’s five-year docking at IMC Shipyard in Zhoushan, China.

Prior to the installation of the foundation, the vessel had to undergo significant changes. These included extensive structural modifications to ensure the vessel has the necessary strength to accommodate the wing unit and new cabling for the interface between the vessel and the sail wing. Crew training has also been carried out to ensure their preparedness for operating the new technology.

Oceanbird, a joint venture between Alfa Laval and Wallenius, now says that Tirranna is ready to be fitted with the sail wing following the welding of the foundation on the ship’s deck. The shiny white, 10-meter-long foundation sides will connect the wing sail with the ship’s deck.

The fitting and installaton of the wingsail itself will be carried out in Europe in the first quarter of next year. The company is currently producing two full-scale (40 by 14 meter) wing sail prototypes, one of which will be installed on the car carrier.

“The installation went as planned. Overall, it was a successful operation. Since this is our first installation, we had a lot of valuable learnings,” said Emil Kotz, Oceanbird's Customer Project Manager.

Illustration of the completed assembly (courtesy Oceanbird)

Lessons learned from the Tirranna project will be used in refining the design and performance of the sail unit, paving the way for its implementation on the second demonstrator vessel, Orcelle Wind.

Unlike Tirranna, Orcelle Wind will be a newbuild optimized for wind as the main propulsion, representing the next generation of sustainable shipping with the capability of saving 50 percent energy.  

Oceanbird's wing consists of a tall main wing and a flap, made of composite shells. Shaped to optimize aerodynamics, the wing sail transfers pressure loads to the main load-carrying structure. Should the ship be exposed to extreme weather conditions, or when in port, the wings can be folded down.