Airplane-Like Wings Could Help Cargo Ship Boost Fuel Efficiency

ventifoils
Illustration courtesy Econowind

Dutch based ship designer eConowind has been tapped to supply one of their innovative “ventifoil“ wind-assisted propulsion systems onboard a 3,600 DWT cargo ship, marking the first commercial order of the system.

The system will be installed aboard the Van Dam Shipping’s general cargo vessel Ankie with delivery in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The Ventifoil wind-assist system has been developed over the last three years with help from an EU grant. The system uses non-rotating wings with vents and an internal fan which uses boundary layer suction to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency.

“After several years of development and testing we are very happy to take this next big step: a first commercial installation to show that saving energy and emissions can mean saving money at the same time,” said Frank Nieuwenhuis, CEO of eConowind. “We are confident that such an innovative company as van Dam Shipping will manage to get the most out of the system and we are really excited to share the results in the coming months.”

Van Dam Shipping estimates that the system could generate enough fuel savings to cover the initial investment in just three years.

“We expect the reduction in fuel costs over a period of approx. three years will equal the costs of the system and thus fulfill our dream of using the wind again in modern shipping, which has been 40 years in the making,” said Jan van Dam, owner of Van Dam Shipping.

Van Dam Shipping’s fleet consists of eight vessels operating in Northwest of Europe, including six vessels that specialize in transiting the Saima Canal in Finland.