GT Green Technologies’ AirWings receives funding boost

Containership with render of AirWings propulsion system added at bow

GT Green Technologies, in collaboration with Carisbrooke Shipping and The University of Bristol, believes it’s set to revolutionise commercial shipping with its groundbreaking wind propulsion solution, AirWing.

The project has been awarded a substantial £3.7m grant to install a 20-metre AirWing unit on a Carisbrooke Shipping vessel in the UK. The grant is from the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 4 (CMDC4).

The AirWing will be used on a UK-Canada-UK route, primarily transporting corn. It’s expected to offer significant benefits, with fuel and carbon emission savings reaching 8.3 per cent (this represents annual cost savings exceeding £139,000).

“We’ve been discussing various technologies with GT Green for the last two years and are excited to be prototyping their AirWing concept in 2024,” says Captain Simon Merritt, senior fleet manager at Carisbrooke Shipping. “Using AirWing technology will reduce operating costs by lowering fuel consumption and emissions. It will improve the vessel’s green credentials and lower the tax burden for the ship’s operators. We will be installing the AirWing on one of our UK-registered vessels, and all the design work, as well as construction, will be carried out in the UK.”

“After the successful deployment of our initial unit, Carisbrooke has expressed keen interest in potentially installing an additional five units,” says George Thompson, CEO at GT Green. “This underscores their commitment to embracing innovative and eco-friendly solutions within the maritime industry.”

The first AirWing unit will be manufactured and installed in the UK. “It is our intention to maintain our manufacturing base in the UK, utilising the region’s expertise in cutting-edge maritime technology,” says Will O’Malley, CFO at GT Green. “Following the installation of the first unit in late 2024 / early 2025, we plan to immediately move to commercial manufacturing, with several further installations intended for 2025. We are in the final stages of selecting manufacturing partners for the AirWing, which we will announce in the coming months.”

He says the key challenges in the near term are really two-fold. “Firstly, we are currently at the cutting edge of wind propulsion technology, offering significant thrust to vessels from a small and compact unit. Maintaining this technical leadership will be critical and will be our key focus as the industry continues its rapid evolution. Secondly, we are focused on building out our supply chain. We expect huge growth in the adoption of wind propulsion technologies, so ensuring we can meet our clients’ needs as demand scales up will be key to our continued success.”

Demand is already there.

“We have already conducted feasibility studies for some of the largest global shipowners and received multiple LOIs for future orders,” says Jonny Gambell, leader of technical sales. “Amidst rising maritime emission regulations, the return of sails is not just irony; it’s the future, and it’s encouraging that even more shipowners are recognising this now.”

BAR Technologies, which also makes wings for container ships, recently entered into an agreement to enable its WindWings to be produced in China. BAR says its partnership with CM Energy Tech (CMET) will greatly enhance its ability to manufacture enough WindWings to satisfy the growing demand, while delivering them to the customers at the right price. It’s recognised China’s efficient location, and that the country holds a leading position in bulk and large cargo vessel construction.

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