Fuel-saving of 50% possible with modern WindShips. A new efficient rig design, combined with an especially developed underwater hull, promises to cut the fuel consumption by half on selected ocean routes. This is the message from a newly held seminar in Copenhagen where Knud E. Hansen, Naval Architects and Marine Engineers presented their study "Modern WindShips, Phase 2”.
In 1995 the Danish Ministry of Environment and Energy granted funding for Knud E. Hansen A/S to investigate the feasibility of adding sail assisted power to propel commercial ships. In the Phase 1, which was finished in November 1996, a broad background of various projects from the last 30 years, involving sailing and sail assisted ships, were investigated. The study envisaged a new type of sailing vessel named "Modern WindShip" with a length of about 200 m and a dead weight of 50.000 tonnes. The proposed WindShip was compared to conventional ships, and it was concluded that in spite of significant fuel savings an increased overall transportation cost of approx. 10% resulted.
The Phase 2 resulted in a new innovative rig design, with complete mechanical layout and a new underwater hull, specifically designed for the dual propulsion using both wind and diesel power. An economical feasibility study confirmed that the 10% higher freight rate was necessary for the WindShip. This stems from the fact that the construction and running costs are slightly higher for the WindShip at the present stage. There are reasons to believe that further technical simplification and optimisation will reduce the price gap between conventional and wind assisted ships.
On routes with reasonable weather wind conditions, like in the Atlantic Ocean, fuel savings of about 27% can be obtained. On routes where the superior internal volume capacity of the WindShip can be properly utilised, fuel savings of 50% are possible. This corresponds to an annual fuel saving of approximately4800 tonnes, having large beneficial effects on the environment by reducing harmful emissions of CO2, SOx and NOx.