Union Maritime to equip 34 tankers with wind propulsion, and invest in BAR Technologies

Cargo ships in a row with rigid sails for wind propulsion

Union Maritime says it is leading the global shipping industry into a new era of wind propulsion. The environmental benefits of using wind propulsion are hardly a secret, and BAR Technologies has been shouting about the economic benefits of its WindWings since December last year when John Cooper, BAR’s CEO, told MIN he was “absolutely stunned . . . in terms of performance.”

New tech is to be deployed on a total of 34 Union Maritime newbuild vessels, specifically 14 LR2s (long-range), 12 chemical, and eight medium range tankers. This announcement comes as Union Maritime is working with BAR Technologies’ shareholders on a strategic equity investment into the company. That process is in its final stages with further announcements expected in the near future.

BAR makes WindWings which it says delivers average daily savings of 1.5 tonnes of fuel per wing and six tonnes of CO2 per wing on typical global routes. Union Maritime is also working with Norsepower for rotor sails on smaller vessels.

Wind propulsion is the central feature of Union Maritime’s wider environmental initiatives: the company is also deploying dual-fuel LNG engines on up to eight LR2s, working with Bar Technologies on its AeroBridge superstructure which provide further efficiency and crew comfort, as well as various other technologies.

In May this year an interim report on BAR Technologies suggested that when WindWings were added to cargo ships, they can save 32 per cent energy. The performance was validated by DNV. DNV found that when sailing in favourable conditions the two WindWings installed on the MV Pyxis Ocean (a Kamsarmax bulk carrier under management of MC Shipping Singapore Branch and chartered by Cargill) reduced energy consumption of the main engine by 32 per cent, per nautical mile.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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