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Chemship CEO Niels Grotz standing next two VentoFoils next to the MT Chemical Challenger. Photo courtesy Chemship

Chemship CEO Niels Grotz. Photo courtesy Chemship

Chemship Launches World’s First Wind-Assisted Chemical Tanker

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 2269
February 20, 2024

Netherlands-based Chemship has launched its first ship equipped with wind-assisted propulsion.

The MT Chemical Challenger will operate on Chemship’s Trans-Atlantic route between the U.S. East Coast and the Mediterranean. With the installation, the ship becomes the world’s first chemical tanker to use wind-assisted propulsion.

The 134-meter vessel last week was outfitted with four 16-meter-high aluminum wind sails, or VentoFoils, from Econowind. The advanced design of the sails creates a direct wind surface of 180 square meters, which is amplified by smart vacuum technology to more than quadruple the gross wind surface to 900 m2—equivalent to a 30 meter by 30 meter sail.

Chemship anticipates that the new sails will lead to an average CO2 reduction of 10%.

Niels Grotz, CEO of Chemship, sees this wind-assisted propulsion as a return to the shipping industry’s roots. “Despite the fact that shipping already has the lowest carbon footprint of all transport modes, we can use wind to make our existing fleet even more sustainable,” said Grotz. “With the VentoFoils, we will use less fuel and thus reduce CO2 emissions. For this vessel, we anticipate an annual CO2 reduction of 850 tonnes. This is equivalent to the yearly CO2 emissions of over 500 passenger cars.”

The timing of the installation corresponds with the introduction of the European Emissions Trading System for the shipping industry. Shipowners are now accountable for the emissions produced when transporting goods by sea to and from European ports. Grotz noted that customers increasingly request CO2 reports and that a higher performance rating corresponds to fewer emissions, benefiting both the environment and the shipowners’ budgets.

Michiel Marelis, Operations Director at Chemship, added that these wind sails fit seamlessly within the tankers’ existing configurations and don’t interfere with normal operations.

“These wind sails were easy to install without adding reinforcements to the ship. They are lightweight, have a small deck ‘footprint’ and do not obstruct the crew’s line of sight. At the push of a button, they can fold or set the sails as needed. Above wind force seven, the sails fold automatically, which is much safer. Now it is learning by doing. With positive results, we will also equip the next vessel with VentoFoils,” said Marelis.

As part of a larger sustainability plan, Chemship is also focusing on less visible technologies, such as improved lubricating oils and a coating that allows the ship to navigate the water more efficiently. These measures cumulatively could lead to fuel savings of over 15% and a corresponding CO2 reduction.

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