Wind Power Sails the Seas in Successful Cargill Test

hero pyxis ocean aug 2023

(Credit: Cargill)

by | Mar 25, 2024

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Cargill has disclosed the outcome of a pioneering six-month evaluation of the Pyxis Ocean, marking a significant stride toward integrating wind energy within the maritime sector. The Kamsarmax ship, managed by MC Shipping and retrofitted with two WindWings by BAR Technologies, showed fuel savings consistent with predictions, averaging a reduction of three metric tons of fuel daily. This breakthrough demonstrates the viability of wind-assisted propulsion technology as a critical player in the maritime industry’s journey toward decarbonization.

Collaboration at the Helm

Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill’s Ocean Transportation business, shared his enthusiasm for the project’s success, stating, “We are encouraged by the results and have learned a great deal about implementing wind assisted propulsion on dry bulk vessels. We could never have done this alone – BAR Technologies and MC Shipping have been fantastic partners in making the Pyxis Ocean a reality as well as the captain and crew. We are on the leading edge of change in the shipping industry and believe technologies that harness the wind could be an important, cost-effective way to achieve our decarbonization goals in the short, medium, and long-term.”

Navigating New Waters

Since its inaugural journey began in August 2023, the Pyxis Ocean has navigated global waters, including the Indian and Pacific Oceans and the North and South Atlantic. Its journey passed Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope. The WindWings, standing at 37.5 meters tall and resembling vast airplane wings, are mounted vertically to capture wind, propelling the ship forward. This innovative design allows for reduced engine use, maintaining conventional speeds while significantly cutting fuel consumption.

A Beacon for Future Maritime Strategies

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) strategy for reducing greenhouse gases sees wind-assisted propulsion as a potential turning point in maritime challenges in renewable energy usage. With targets to derive five to ten percent of energy from ultra-low carbon sources by 2030, implementing wind technology could be beneficial in reaching these objectives. The trials have shed light on broader logistical challenges within the maritime system, emphasizing the importance of port, terminal, and berth adaptation to accommodate Wind Assisted Propulsion (WAP) technology.

Realizing Wind Propulsion’s Potential

John Cooper, CEO of BAR Technologies, remarked on the significance of the Pyxis Ocean’s achievements, noting substantial fuel and emissions savings in optimal conditions. The anticipated increase in number of WindWings per vessel promises even greater efficiency and fuel savings. Dieleman highlighted Cargill’s proactive approach in facilitating WAP technology adoption across global maritime routes, demonstrating the company’s commitment to innovation and sustainable industry transformation.

Cargill plans to further explore the Pyxis Ocean’s operational, technical, and commercial aspects to maximize learning and inform the design of future installations, paving the way for large-scale implementation of wind-assisted propulsion in shipping.

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