WW plans wind-powered car carrier by 2025

Ship operator Wallenius Wilhelmsen is planning a wind powered car carrier which it hopes may be ready for service by 2025.

Details of the project were released on the company’s website with the concept named as Orcelle Wind and described as a wind-powered pure car and truck carrier capable of achieving up to 90% reduced emissions compared to today’s most efficient vessels.

Introducing the project the company said it was committed to sustainable logistics and as a market leader in ro-ro shipping takes an active role in steering the industry towards a zero-emissions future, which is why it is investing in new technology to improve the efficiency of our fleet and trialling alternative fuels. Recognising there’s still more to be done, we have launched our most significant sustainability project to date: the world’s first full-size wind-powered pure car and truck carrier.

“Since 2008, we have been able to reduce CO2 intensity by 33%, which is a significant step. But the journey towards zero emissions requires great strides forward,” said Craig Jasienski, CEO of Wallenius Wilhelmsen. “We believe Orcelle Wind is one of them.”

Once completed, Orcelle Wind will have the capacity to carry 7,000 vehicles at speeds of 10-12 knots under sail – a speed that can be increased with the help of an onboard supplemental power system. In addition to cars, the wind-powered vessel will also be able to transport heavy machinery and breakbulk products.

Orcelle Wind will be our technical and operational testbed for zero emission innovation, where we can assess and develop various zero-emission fuels and technology,” said Erik Noeklebye, EVP and COO of shipping services at Wallenius Wilhelmsen.

Plans are in place to have a design ready for contracting with a shipyard by mid-2022, with the finished vessel expected to set sail by 2025, subject to a comprehensive viability evaluation. To pass muster, Orcelle Wind must satisfy regulatory standards relating to safety and technical performance. Operational needs must also be meet, such as the suitability for deployment on multiple global trade lanes and the ability to manoeuvre in port in bad weather.

“It will take the dedicated collaboration of our world-class customers, partners and employees to make such a bold initiative as Orcelle Wind succeed,” added Jasienski. “More than just evaluating the concept, we are committed to making this a success.”

The project name harks back to an earlier concept the E/S Orcelle that Wallenius Wilhelmsen announced in 2005. At that time, the company said the name was chosen because Orcelle is the French name for the Irrawaddy dolphin, a threatened species whose survival could benefit enormously from less polluting ships.

The 2005 concept was intended to be powered by a 10MW fuel cell and be equipped with podded propulsion system. At the time Wallenius Wilhelmsen admitted that producing the hydrogen for the fuel cells would require more energy than the cell itself could produce and proposed that wind and solar power could be incorporated into the ship’s design to offset the impact of producing the hydrogen ashore.

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