GT Green Technologies & Partners Receive £3.7M Grant for New Project

GT Green Technologies
Artist’s impression of a 20-metre AirWing™ unit to be installed on Carisbrooke Shipping’s general cargo vessel.

Published Jan 26, 2024 10:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

[By: GT Green Technologies]

GT Green Technologies, in collaboration with Carisbrooke Shipping and The University of Bristol, is set to revolutionise commercial shipping with its groundbreaking wind propulsion solution, AirWingTM. The project has been awarded a substantial £3.7 million grant under the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 4 (CMDC4) to install a 20-metre AirWing unit on a Carisbrooke Shipping vessel in the UK, signifying a transformative shift towards greener maritime practices.

AirWingTM Technology: Revolutionising Maritime Propulsion
The 20-metre AirWingTM wind propulsion system will propel the vessel on its UK-Canada-UK route, offering significant benefits. Expected fuel and carbon emission savings reach an impressive 8.3%, resulting in annual cost savings exceeding £139,000. Over its 25-year lifespan, the 20-metre AirWingTM has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 14,250 metric tonnes, equivalent to taking over 3,000 cars off the roads. AirWingTM utilises cutting-edge airflow manipulation technology designed to maximise thrust output while maintaining a compact and lightweight profile. This patent-pending innovation addresses the pressing need for sustainable shipping solutions, particularly on general cargo ships with limited deck space.

Carisbrooke Shipping’s Pioneering Role
Carisbrooke Shipping, overseeing the technical management of a global fleet of 27 vessels, is strategically positioned as the first to integrate this groundbreaking technology. This pioneering move by Carisbrooke sets a compelling example for other industry players considering similar advancements to enhance their operational sustainability. Captain Simon Merritt, Sr. Fleet Manager at Carisbrooke Shipping, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration: “We’ve been discussing various technologies with GT Green for the last two years and are excited to be prototyping their AirWing concept in 2024. Using AirWing technology will reduce operating costs by lowering fuel consumption and emissions. It will improve the vessel's green credentials and lower the tax burden for the ship's operators. We will be installing the AirWing on one of our UK-registered vessels, and all the design work as well as construction will be carried out in the UK.”

The University of Bristol’s Contribution
Tobias Laux, Research Associate at The University of Bristol, commented: “We are very excited to be part of the AirWing consortium and to contribute our expertise in composite structures testing and modelling to the development of innovative wind propulsion technology. We believe that wind propulsion will play an important role in future sustainable shipping and that cross-disciplinary research in fluid dynamics, structures, and ship science will be necessary to harness its full potential.”

Market Potential for Wind Propulsion
GT Green Technologies has already conducted feasibility studies for some of the largest global shipowners and received multiple LOIs for future orders. With 20,000 ships globally suitable for wind propulsion (versus only ~35 installations today), the market is vast, and GT Green Technologies' unique proposition positions the company ideally for rapid commercial deployment and scale-up.

Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 4 (CMDC4) Details
The project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 4 (CMDC4), funded by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered by Innovate UK. CMDC4 is part of the Department’s UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) program, a £206m initiative focused on developing the technology necessary to decarbonise the UK domestic maritime sector.

Maritime Minister Lord Davies emphasized: “Unlocking a sustainable maritime sector and the economic growth it provides relies on cutting-edge technology to propel it to the next level. The voyage to sustainability demands bold investments to not just deliver greener shipping but highly skilled jobs across the UK. Transformative solutions can help shape the future landscape of the maritime industry and support jobs in coastal communities."

UK SHORE Program and Government Investment
In March 2022, the UK Government announced the biggest government investment ever in our UK commercial maritime sector, allocating £206m to UK SHORE, a new program within the Department for Transport focused on decarbonising the maritime sector. UK SHORE is delivering a suite of interventions throughout 2022-2025 aimed at accelerating the design, manufacture, and operation of UK-made clean maritime technologies and unlocking an industry-led transition to Net Zero.

The UK SHORE program includes the flagship multi-year Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC), which provides match-funding to help bring pre-commercial technologies closer to market readiness. CMDC4 allocated £33m to 33 projects across the UK to deliver demonstrations, pre-deployment trials, and feasibility studies between April 2024 – March 2025. The projects are supported by over 120 partners and will leverage more than £16m of private investment. CMDC4 follows the successful first three rounds of the CMDC, which allocated over £95m to 105 projects. CMDC1 was launched in 2021, prior to UK SHORE.

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