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Wind-Powered Cargo Ship Embarks on Inaugural Voyage

New Eco-Friendly Cargo Ship Sets Sail to Study Wind Power in Shipping

A cargo ship equipped with state-of-the-art sails has embarked on its maiden voyage with the goal of examining how wind power can reduce emissions and consumption in the shipping industry. With the sector accounting for nearly 3 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, there is increasing from investors and environmental organizations to accelerate the decarbonisation of the industry. In response, companies are exploring various technologies, such as ammonia and methanol, to replace the more polluting bunker fuel.

Cargill, one of the largest ship charterers in the , has been actively researching wind-assisted propulsion as a cleaner energy alternative. While wind power was once a common method of propelling ships, has since been mostly limited to smaller vessels. The aim now is to demonstrate the potential of wind energy for larger cargo ships.

Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill’s ocean transportation division, acknowledges the involved in pursuing this technology. However, he believes it is crucial to showcase what is possible and inspire confidence in wind-assisted propulsion. Dieleman stated, “It is -taking. There is no guarantee … that the economics are going to . But it is up to us to show the industry what is possible and hopefully get some more people confident around this technology.”

The Pyxis Ocean, a five-year-old cargo ship, has been retrofitted with WindWings, large wing sails that can reach up to 37.5 meters (123 feet) in and are installed on the vessel’s deck. Cargill expects to recover the costs of these modifications through fuel savings. Dieleman expressed confidence in scaling up this technology, stating, “If we are not going to get any real surprises, we are definitely going to scale this. The question is a little bit how and when,” with reference to potential future ships with wind-assisted propulsion.

The Pyxis Ocean will depart from Singapore and sail to Brazil. Its likely cargo will be grain, which it will transport to Denmark. Dieleman also mentioned that the vessel is expected to operate in the North Atlantic region to maximize the utilization of wind power. The sails were designed by BAR Technologies, known for their boat designs in the America’s Cup, and built by Yara Marine Technologies in Norway.

As the shipping industry seeks to reduce its carbon footprint, exploring alternative energy sources becomes increasingly important. The Pyxis Ocean’s voyage represents a significant step toward harnessing wind power for larger cargo ships. By demonstrating the viability and cost-effectiveness of wind-assisted propulsion, companies like Cargill are paving the way for a greener, more sustainable future in maritime transportation.

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