Wind power and digital optimisation system secures £5m for R&D project

Smart Green Shipping (SGS) in the UK has launched a £5 million research and development project for its FastRigs wing sail technology and digital routing software, aiming to deliver fuel and emissions savings for the shipping industry through wind power and optimised voyage planning.

The funding for the three-year programme comes from a £3.2 million investment from the private sector and a further £1.8 million grant from Scottish Enterprise.

Over the course of the project SGS will test its FastRig wing sails at a land-based site at Peel Ports Hunterston Port and Resource Centre in Scotland, in collaboration with Clyde-based engineering partner Malin.

Its TradeWind weather routing software will also be further developed and updated over the course of the testing programme. The application has been optimised to gather data that will allow vessels to maximise the use of wind for a journey and optimise routing to minimise fuel consumption and arrive at a port at a designated time.

Data from the software can be used to underpin charter agreements as well as secure private funding to lease the technology, SGS says. Following successful land-based tests, a demonstrator on board a vessel is expected to begin in 2023.

“Scotland’s decision to support this project shows that wind technology has the might of a maritime nation behind it,” said SGS founder Diane Gilpin.

“Shipping has a long history of harnessing the power of wind, but digital technologies are allowing us to work towards making zero emission vessels a reality. Smart Green Shipping’s FastRig wing sail technology offers a financially and technically robust solution to help support shipping’s green transition.”

Modelling tests, undertaken by SGS in conjunction with the University of Southampton’s Wolfson Unit, show that the technology could create 20% fuel savings and GHG reductions for retrofits, with up to 50% fuel savings possible for small and medium sized new build ships.

Lloyd’s Register has already granted first stage Approval in Principle for the technology.

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Rob O'Dwyer
Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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