Oceanbird – a wind powered cargo vessel
Oceanbird – a wind powered cargo vessel
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MARITIME LOGISTICS Concept of a wind-powered sailing freighter

Author: Florian Richert

Fossil fuels are still the primary energy resource, especially for cargo ships. A Swedish consortium wants to change this and in the future drive cargo ships with wind – a sailing boat 4.0 but for freight.

The Wind Powered Car Carrier (wPCC), a development by a consortium including the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH), the maritime consultancy firm SSPA and the ship design company Wallenius Marine. The freighter will be able to carry up to 7,000 vehicles and will require 90% fewer emissions for the crossing than conventional ships. The consortium is aiming for the maiden voyage of the first wPCC in 2024.

The wind carries the conceptual shipping revolution named Oceanbird.
The wind carries the conceptual shipping revolution named Oceanbird.

Not that long, not that wide - but very tall

The cargo ship's dimensions in maritime terms are medium - 200 metres long and 40 metres wide, the most outstanding feature is its overall height of 100 metres, of which around 80 metres are the vertical wing sails. There are no classic sails made of cloth in use, but instead winged sails which ensure propulsion with wind power. The wing sails are telescopic and can be lowered, resulting in a minimum ship height of approximately 45 metres above the waterline.

The ship is equipped with auxiliary motors for entering and leaving the harbour and to ensure navigation in light winds. But the wPCC does not offer any advantages. The emissions are drastically lower, but the crossing of the Atlantic will probably take twice as long as before, about 12 days.
The cost-benefit calculation is favourable, especially in ecological terms. Rethinking the concept of sailing, which has proven itself over centuries, can be a solution for sustainable logistics on the world's oceans.


About the author

 Florian Richert

Florian Richert

Product Manager | Editor, ngn - new generation network GmbH