Swedish Consortium Unveils Wind-Powered Car Carrier With Towering Wings

The car carrier Oceanbird will transport 7,000 cars via wind power across the Atlantic Ocean.
Chris Young

A Swedish consortium debuted an enormous winged car carrier with a 6,000-to-7,000-vehicle capacity across the Atlantic Ocean, while also reducing 90% of emissions, according to an initial report from The Driven.

The vessel has two names: Oceanbird and the wind-Powered Car Carrier (wPCC), and was designed as part of a Swedish collaborative project under the leadership of design firm Wallenius Marine, in addition to maritime consulting firm SSPA and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm.


Wind-powered car carrier Oceanbird hails 'new sailing era'

The design — which Wallenius Marine claims will herald a new sailing era — constitutes the world’s largest sailing vessel. 

A successful sea trial for a smaller model of the Oceanbird — conducted earlier this year to test the vessel's inclination as well as the motoring part and the rudders — means that the in-development Oceanbird is on course to set sail by the end of 2024.

The Oceanbird sports a unique five-sail design, each of which somewhat resembles the wing of an airliner. In its promo video, Wallenius Marine refers to the vessel's "unique wing sail technology."

Swedish Consortium Unveils Wind-Powered Car Carrier With Towering Wings
Source: Wallenius Marine / YouTube

Wind-powered car carrier takes longer to cross Atlantic, less fossil fuel

A transatlantic crossing aboard the Oceanbird would take 12 days, instead of the seven days it currently takes aboard a conventional cargo ship, reports The Driven.

Oceanbird will use far less fossil fuel compared to said freighter ships. At present, the world's fleet of approximately 450 large car transporters uses roughly 44 tons (40 tonnes) of fossil fuel per day.

"It is a technically challenging project," Wallenius Marine developers said, reports The Driven. "The rigging and hull will work together as a single unit to harness the wind in the most efficient way."

Most Popular

“The hull has been designed for a large sailing cargo vessel that will transport heavy cargo over long distances for long periods of time," they added.

"It is a mix of aeronautic and shipbuilding technology," they said. "We evaluate performance and safety by using a combination of computer simulations and physical experiments."

Swedish Consortium Unveils Wind-Powered Car Carrier With Towering Wings
Source: Wallenius Marine / YouTube

Sustainable ocean transport may reduce fossil fuel use

The Oceanbird measures roughly 656 ft (200 m) in length and 131 ft (40 m) wide. It is designed to have a displacement of roughly 35,273 tons (32,000 tonnes) and, with its massive extendable sails at full height, will be 328 ft (100 m) tall — that is twice the height of the tallest existing ship.

Backed by an investment of 27 million Swedish crowns ($4.25 million, according to The Driven) from the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket), Oceanbird may well be on course to change the shipping industry's sustainability track record.