Cargo vessel with wind-assist propulsion makes historic maiden voyage

The 3,600 DWT general cargo vessel MV Ankie, installed with the Ventifoil wind-assist system, made its maiden voyage, sailing for Wagenborg from Delfzijl to Hamburg, onwards to Norway and then back to Rotterdam.

The 3,600 DWT general cargo vessel MV Ankie of Van Dam Shipping, installed with the first retrofit eConowind Ventifoil wind-assist system, made its maiden voyage, sailing for Wagenborg from Delfzijl to Hamburg, onwards to Norway and then back to Rotterdam.

The Ventifoil is a wing shaped element using modern innovations in aerodynamics creating high propelling force relative to its size. Smart suction is integrated in the wing, resulting in double the force of the Ventifoil, while reefing when needed.  

The modular Ventifoil units are in the form of wings with vents and an internal fan that use boundary layer suction for maximum effect. MV Ankie features two 10-meter wings that will generate significant force allowing the vessel to reduce motor power and thus save energy. In a second step, the units will be extended by a further six meters.

For eConowind BV, located in Groningen, the Netherlands, it is the first commercial installation of their Ventifoil system. The wind-assist system was developed over the past three years supported by the EU-WASP project, and this first voyage marks a significant milestone for the company in bringing their technology to a shipping market eager to deploy credible decarbonization solutions.

This first voyage is a big step for Jan van Dam, CEO of Van Dam Shipping, who has been hoping to combine modern shipping with wind propulsion for almost 40 years. “We expect to show in the WASP research project this first step will be economically feasible. We are hoping to set the next steps as well in a new-to-build ship in the coming years, getting step-by-step into low and even zero emission shipping.” 

The WASP (Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion) project is funded by the Interreg North Sea Europe program, part of the European Regional Development Fund and brings together universities and wind-assist technology providers with ship owners to research, trial and validate the operational performance of a selection of wind propulsion solutions.

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