Bunker Saving Rigid Sail Technology Being Readied for Sea Trials

Monday January 20, 2014

Japan's Eco Marine Power Co. Ltd. (EMP), the developer of wind and solar power ship propulsion systems, has announced its "EnergySail" rigid sail technology is being readied for sea trials having passed a range of function tests at its Aquarius Innovation Lab in Osaka

The company said the successful completion of the tests were a "significant milestone" that also clears the way for the commercial production of the EnergySail once sea trials have been completed.

"We are extremely pleased with the test results which have confirmed that we made the right design choices regarding the EnergySail and the devices that will be connected to it," said Greg Atkinson, Director at EMP. 

"We have also been encouraged by some very positive feedback that we have received from a number of shipping companies and the increasing interest from companies and organisations around the world in the technologies we are developing."

EMP says the EnergySail harness both wind and solar power, and is designed to be used either as a stand-alone device or as part of a larger array of up to eight EnergySails or more. 

The most recent lab tests evaluated features including a device to protect the EnergySail from sudden strong wind gusts, as well as control algorithms which will be used to fully automate the operation of the EnergySail via a computer control system being developed jointly between KEI System Ltd (KEI) of Osaka, Japan and EMP.

EMP said the the completion of the lab tests were also a step forward for its Aquarius MRE System, a combination of technologies including the EnergySail, its Aquarius Management and Automation System (MAS) system, and Lithium-ion batteries, which together aim to reduce bunker fuel consumption on a variety of vessel types.

"The next major step forward for the EnergySail project will be sea trials which are scheduled to start in 2014," said EMP.

"Design work on the EnergySail which will be used for this phase has already started and confidential discussions with a major shipping company regarding co-operation during these trials are in progress."