A new way of reducing fuel consumption, emissions and bunker expenses is being pursued by Terje Lade, managing director of the company Lade AS. He has designed the Vindskip™, a vessel powered by wind and gas and featuring software developed by Fraunhofer (a German research organization) that will ensure an optimum use of the available wind energy in the best possible way and at any time.
The hull of the freighter serves as a wing sail. For low-wind passages, in order to maneuver the ship on the open sea while also maintaining a constant speed, it is equipped with environmentally friendly and cost-effective propulsion machinery running on LNG. With the combination of wind and natural gas as an alternative fuel to heavy fuel oil, the fuel consumption is estimated to be only 60% of a reference ship on average. CO2 emissions are reduced by 80%, according to calculations by the Norwegian company.
According to Vindskip™ patent-holder Lade, the freighter move at speeds of up to 18 to 19 knots, hence just as fast as conventionally powered ships. Due to its very low fuel consumption, it can utilize LNG as fuel and still be capable – in the worst case – of 70 days of steaming between bunkering. Thus, it can meet all of today’s and tomorrow’s challenges with regards to fuel economy and emission control.
Lade forecasts that the freighter will set sail as soon as 2019. First, the ship model has to pass numerous tests in a marine research model tank – also called a towing tank by experts. Tests in wind tunnels have already been completed successfully.