Cargill, the world’s largest agricultural commodity merchant, plans to use wind energy by installing wing sails on its small tankers to reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.
The maritime sector accounts for almost %3 of carbon dioxide emissions. The industry has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by %50 by 2050, compared to 2008 levels. It is still unclear how the industry will reach its target and move away from fossil fuel technologies.
With an untested idea, it is projected to apply robust winged sails up to 45 meters high that are fixed to the decks of cargo ship hulls specially designed, which traders and partners may reduce fuel use. The world giant Cargill has nearly 600 ships within the scope of its operation.
The structure of the wings
Wing sails are firstly planned to be installed on medium-sized tanker ships carrying edible oils, biofuels or ethanol. If successful, they can be adapted for dry cargo ships transporting grains and oilseeds. President of Cargill’s Ocean Transport Head, stressed that the new sailing ships could even lead to a change in shipping routes. He said that ship masters may prefer windy routes.
Huge sails will be made of solid composite material. While the wings will provide wind driven thrust to the ships, they will be counter-foldable in case of a contact with the cranes and bridges.
The Cargill’s project with BAR, is not the first to try and use wind to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Maersk began installing wind-rotor sails on ships in 2018. This technology uses wind rotors in cylindrical tubes to provide lift and thrust, reducing fuel consumption and emissions by 7% to 10%.