Dutch chemical tanker operator Chemship has become the first to utilise wind assisted propulsion technology after fitting VentoFoils from Econowind onto a chemical tanker. 

The company has fitted four 16m tall wind “sails” on its Chemical Challenger vessel to reduce its carbon emissions by around 10%, bringing an annual reduction of about 805 tonnes of CO2. 

The four foils on the MT Chemical Challenger will create a direct wind surface of 180 m2 while smart vacuum technology will increase this to a gross wind surface of 900m2, equivalent to a conventional sail of 30m by 30m. 

Chemship CEO Niels Grotz said: “As an avid sailor, I know the power of the wind. We will now harness this sustainable and free energy source on MT Chemical Challenger

“We can use wind to make our existing fleet even more sustainable. With the VentoFoils, we will use less fuel and thus reduce CO2 emissions.” 

As the 134m long ship is used on the company’s Trans-Atlantic route between the East Coast of the US and the Mediterranean, Grotz highlighted the importance of discovering alternative sustainable technologies in light of the EU’s expansion of European Emissions Trading System to include shipping that came into effect on 1 January 2024. 

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The company said it chose the VentoFoils solution as one that would not interfere with normal operations due to their small deck footprint and ability to fold through remote control or automatically if winds reach force seven. 

Chemship said if the foils on the Chemical Challenger produce positive results, the company would expect fuel savings of at least 15%. If successful, the technology will be equipped on another of its vessels. 

While Chemship claims to be the first to install the new form of wind propulsion technology onto a chemical tanker, the company is far from the first in the shipping industry to use the tech solution.

Big names such as ONE trialled Econowind’s VentoFoils and other technology companies such as Norsepower provided similar solutions to customers such as Louis Dreyfus Armateurs and Airbus.