Wind powered freighter

Norwegian engineer Terje Lade has developed a new wind and gas-powered cargo vessel that integrates software made by Fraunhofer researchers.

Lade, who is also the managing director of the company Lade, has used the proprietary Vindskip technology to design the cargo ship. The software enables optimum use of the accessible wind energy by the ship whenever required.

With the hull serving as a wing sail, the vessel features LNG-powered propulsion machinery that assists with manoeuvring on the open sea and in maintaining a constant speed in low-wind passages.

In addition, researchers have created a tailored weather routing module for Vindskip to facilitate calculating best routes.

A unit of Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistic (IML), Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services CML researcher Laura Walther said: “With our weather routing module, the best route can be calculated in order to consume as little fuel as possible.

“With our weather routing module, the best route can be calculated in order to consume as little fuel as possible.”

“As a result, costs are reduced. After all, bunker expenses account for the largest part of the total costs in the shipping industry.

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The new wind-powered vessel is capable of cruising at maximum speeds of 18k to 19k, which is claimed to be comparable to the speed of conventionally powered ships.

Development work on the weather routing tool is still in progress, with the initial version already released in December last year, followed by the anticipated delivery of the software to Lade later this month.

The new cargo vessel has completed wind tunnel tests and is projected to be launched in 2019.

Image: The hull of the cargo ship Vindskip acts as a large wing sail. Photo: courtesy of LADE AS.