'Wind Challenger': World's first partially wind-powered cargo ship successfully sailed
The world's first partly wind-powered bulk carrier ship sailed to the Port of Newcastle on its maiden voyage this week.
The Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), which delivered the 100, 422 dwt (dead-weight tonnage) bulker on October 7, 2022, sailed to Newcastle on Monday, reported Offshore Energy.
"The world's first bulk carrier to be partially powered by wind, the Shofu Maru, sailed into #Newcastle this morning on its maiden voyage," the Port of Newcastle authorities wrote on Twitter.
"The vessel's unique hard sail will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 5 percent on its Japan-Australia journey."
It is the first coal carrier to be powered by the hard sail wind power propulsion technology – this part has been named 'Wind Challenger.'
The vessel is claimed to be the "first of its kind" and signals the return of wind power as a viable source of energy, ushering in a new era in modern transport.
The ship inspired the new 'Wind Challenger'
At Oshima Shipbuilding, MOL intends to construct a second bulk carrier using the 'Wind Challenger' hard sail system.
According to the arrangement, MOL Drybulk will manage the 62,900 dwt ship when it is delivered in 2024. When finished, Enviva, a company that specializes in the creation of sustainable wood bioenergy, will use the vessel to transport wood pellets.
Deadweight tonnage (dwt) is a measure of how much weight a ship can carry. Essentially, the weight of the passengers, crew, fresh water, ballast water, cargo, fuel, and food is added together.
Rotor sails, an auxiliary wind propulsion device created by UK-based Anemoi Marine Technologies, is another option that MOL is investigating for the bulker.
It is anticipated that using rotor sails and the Wind Challenger together will reduce Greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent on average.
Shofu Maru offers hope
The Shofu Maru has a telescopic sail made of fiberglass that can stretch to a height of 55 meters and can transport 80,000 tonnes of coal.
According to preliminary tests, the company predicted it would consume 5 percent less fuel traveling between Australia and Japan.
The vessel typically uses 500,000 Liters (L) of fuel for a journey that length; therefore, the reduction amounted to 25,000L of fuel, according to MOL.
The entire decarbonization plan for MOL includes researching wind-assisted propulsion. The MOL Group has established mid- to long-term goals to lower the intensity of GHG emissions in marine transport by roughly 45 percent by 2035 compared to 2019 and reach net zero by 2050.
The maritime industry has made significant contributions to globalization. Ninety percent of global trade is transported by water. However, there is a high environmental cost.
Around one billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2)are released into the atmosphere each year by container ships that travel the world's waterways, which is three percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.
There is increasing pressure on the global shipping industry to decrease pollution caused by the global merchant fleet. Now, the "Wind Challenger" system offers hope because the effort to reduce ship emissions has so far been unsuccessful.