Ultrabulk To Study Wind Propulsion

Monday November 19, 2018

Ultrabulk have become the latest owner to express an interest in using wind propulsion technologies to help power its vessels.

The dry bulk player has partnered with UK power station operator Drax, the Smart Green Shipping Alliance Ltd (SSGA), and Humphreys Yacht Design for a 12-month feasibility study looking at the potential of retrofitting Fastrig sail technology onto an Ultrabulk ship importing biomass into the UK for Drax.

The £100,000 ($128,500) study is funded by InnovateUK, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), and private investors.

Depending on the outcomes of the feasibility study, the launch of the Commercial Demonstrator could be as soon as 2021, the project partners say.

While aiming to significantly cut fuel bills and help deal with the cost of complying with the upcoming 0.50% global sulfur cap, as well as to prepare for any short-term GHG rules that could come into force, the partners are primarily concerned with efforts to reduce GHG emissions from Shipping.

"We have made considerable improvements to NOx and SOx emissions; the latter being the focus as in 2019 the SOx emission has to be reduced by 85%. As an industry we are under way to deliver on these limits, but we shall naturally not stop there. CO2 still needs to be reduced," says Per Lange, CEO of Ultrabulk.

"As well as the shipping industry's commitment through International Maritime Organization targets, Ultrabulk is committed to achieving significant additional reductions. The Smart Green Shipping Alliance is an exciting step in that direction."

The project is led by Diane Gilpin, CEO and Founder of Smart Green Shipping Alliance, who amongst other things is known for her work as part of B9 Shipping, another wind power cargo ship project involving Humphreys Yacht Design.

This year has seen an uptick in interest for wind propulsion technology as owners look to lower their emissions profile, a case in point being Maersk Tankers who earlier this year said they will test a Flettner rotor-based wind propulsion system.