Shipping giants’ wind-propelled two-winged ship sets sail

Cargill, BAR Technologies, Mitsubishi Corporation, and Yara Marine Technologies partnered up to decarbonize cargo vessels in the maritime industry by up to 30 percent.
Shubhangi Dua
Cargill charters the first two WindWing commercial ship, Pyxis Ocean
Cargill charters the first two WindWing commercial ship, Pyxis Ocean


The global shipping industry is responsible for emitting a cumulative three percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide, according to the European Commission

In a crusade to sail towards a greener future in the maritime industry, shipping giants collaborated and innovated BAR Tech WindWings by Yara Marine Technologies – eco-friendly wings to support the commercial vessel. 

Watch the Pyxis Ocean set sail below:

First dual WindWing commercial voyage

The first-of-its-kind 123-foot-tall vessel sets its first sail in open waters to test the new technology. The ship is equipped with cutting-edge wind propulsion techniques in commercial shipping for the first time. 

The Pyxis Ocean, managed by Mitsubishi Corporation and chartered by Cargill, created the first vessel retrofitted with two WindWings – large wing sails reaching heights of up to 123 feet (37.5 meters). They can be fitted on cargo ship decks to capture and utilize wind energy.

A statement by Cargill emphasized that the ship is expected to generate average fuel savings of up to 30 percent on new build vessels. It could be even higher if used in combination with alternative fuels. 

The two wings that set the commercial vessel apart were installed at the COSCO shipyard in China. 

“The maritime industry is on a journey to decarbonize—it's not an easy one, but it is an exciting one,” said Jan Dieleman, President of Cargill’s Ocean transportation business.  

He added: “At Cargill, we have a responsibility to pioneer decarbonizing solutions across all our supply chains to meet our customer’s needs and the needs of the planet. A technology like WindWings doesn’t come without risk, and as an industry leader – in partnership with visionary shipowner Mitsubishi Corporation.”

Demonstrating decarbonization in open water

The WingWings Project is co-funded by the European Union under the CHEK (Decarbonising Shipping by Enabling Key) Horizon 2020 initiative aiming to develop a digital Future Proof Vessel (FPV) design platform and demonstrate decarbonization by technologies operating in symbiosis. 

The new shipping technology has the potential to assist the industry in achieving environmental objectives by providing a retrofit solution capable of decarbonizing existing vessels. Currently, 55 percent of the world’s bulker carrier fleets are nine years of age.

Cargill stated he the performance of the WindWings will be closely monitored over the next few months and the company plans to further improve the design, operation, and performance.

The maritime commercial giants aim to use the Pyxis Ocean to encourage adopting new technology across the shipping industry. 

Future prospects

The statement reported, “BAR Technologies and Yara Marine Technologies are already planning to build hundreds of wings over the next four years and BAR Technologies is also researching new builds with improved hydrodynamic hull forms.”

John Cooper, chief executive officer at BAR Technologies, stressed that for international shipping to achieve its ambition of reducing CO2 emissions, innovation must come to the fore. 

Cooper explained that wind is a near marginal cost-free fuel and the opportunity for reducing emissions, alongside significant efficiency gains in vessel operating costs, is substantial. 

“Today is the culmination of years of pioneering research, where we’ve invested in our unique wind sail technology and sought out a skilled industrialization partner in Yara Marine Technologies, to provide vessel owners and operators with an opportunity to realize these efficiencies.”

If this WindWings technology is used on average global routes, it can cut fuel usage by 1.5 tonnes per day for each WindWing. However, on longer trips across oceans, the savings could be higher on trans-ocean routes. 

Cargill denotes that ship owners can save money on costly fuel, such as heavy fuel oil (HFO), which costs about $800 per tonne. This becomes even more significant as future fuels are anticipated to be even more expensive.

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