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Video: Largest Suction Sails Installed on Dutch Short-Sea Cargo Ship

suction sail installation
Eems Traveler has the largest suction sails installed on a comemrcial ship (Bound4blue)

Published Jul 4, 2023 3:53 PM by The Maritime Executive

Bound4blue, a Spanish company that is developing automated wind-assisted propulsion systems, reports it has completed the installation of the largest fixed suction sails ever built and placed on a commercial ship. It is an evolution of the company’s technology that was first installed in December 2021 and will be used to undertake a 12-month test to validate the benefits of the rigid sail.

The installation was completed on an in-service short sea cargo ship, the Eems Traveler. Owned by Amasus Shipping of the Netherlands, the ship is 23 years old. Measuring 298 feet in length, and 2,850 dwt, the vessel operates as a short sea cargo ship in Europe with a capacity to transport up to 150,000 cubic feet of grain or containers or large cargo. The contract for the sails was signed in March 2022.

The installation consists of two next-generation suction sails each standing approximately 56 feet off the deck. They were placed at the stern of the vessel. Bound4blue explains that they use a thick aerodynamic profile and smart suction to increase the propulsive efficiency, resulting in a system that produces seven times more lift than an airplane wing. The companies previously predicted that in favorable conditions the sails are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent.

 

 

They are also highlighting the ease of installation and operation of the sails. The first phase of the installation was carried out last year during a scheduled dry-dock in the Netherlands. During that phase, they built and placed the foundations for the eSails. The sails were manufactured and transported to the Port of Bilbao in Spain where they were placed aboard the vessel this week in an installation that only required four hours. Bound4blue highlights that it was done with port infrastructure and did not require waiting for a scheduled maintenance period.

The Eems Traveler is ready to return to service and over the next 12 months, they will be collecting data on the ship’s performance and fuel use. An independent company will compare the data to information from the past year of the vessel’s operation to provide third-party validation of the performance.

The system is an improved version of the technology that was installed on M/V La Naumon, a retired general cargo ship that is operating as an itinerant theatre-ship hosting arts programming as well as an onboard laboratory. In December 2021, they placed a single rigid sail on the vessel. Bound4blue reports it also has agreements with Louis Dreyfus Armateurs and Marubeni Corporation to install the systems on their ships.