Wind-assist propulsion vessel starts operation in North Sea

Tharsis Sea-River Shipping has concluded the installation of two retractable wing sails on their 88m, 2,364 dwt diesel-electric general cargo vessel, M/V Tharsis at the Neptune Shipyard in Hardinxveld-Giessendam, near Rotterdam. The work was undertaken at the same time as the vessel was having its air lubrication system upgraded.

The 3m x 9m TwinFoil units are supplied by Netherlands-based eConowind and the units are both integrated in a specially designed aluminium Flatrack from which the folding TwinFoil’s can be deployed. The TwinFoil is a further innovation for eConowind next to their previously designed VentiFoils. The TwinFoil is a wing with a flap principle similar to those used by aircraft during landing and take-off. 

“With this installation operating in both river and North Sea routing with varying winds we are eager to see how the rigs perform, especially with the unique combination of this self-adjusting technology in combination with a modern diesel-electric drive.” says Frank Nieuwenhuis, CEO of eConowind.

Designed and built at the Dutch Shipyard De Kaap in 2012, the M/V Tharsis is a unique vessel of this type. Her innovative diesel-electric propulsion system along with the air lubrication system already reduces the vessels carbon footprint while with a ballast air draft of 6 meters and a minimal sailing draft of 1.65 meters she can go where most other seagoing ships can’t go.

“Tharsis Sea-River Shipping was one of the first companies to install a diesel-electric propulsion train on its general cargo vessel with the aim of fuel and emission reduction back in 2012. After installation of a hull air lubrication system in 2020 the installation of the Econowind Twinfoil system is a logical next step towards the companies aim of becoming zero emission.” states Jan Albert Bosma, co-owner of Tharsis Sea-River Shipping.

The wind-assist equipment will be carefully monitored and evaluated as part of the WASP (Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion) project, which is funded by the Interreg North Sea Europe program, part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 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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