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Technology

Vindskip Ved Kai

Tomorrow’s world – closer than you think


Reality and science fiction often come together on unlikely terms; but as technology and innovation advance unchecked, so new solutions are found for old problems. Here we look at some of the most recent technology stories that have implications in the shipping industry. Today’s science fiction becomes tomorrow’s technology.

Vindskip – sci-fi or future?

Using the concept of apparent wind as a motive force, the Norwegian company Lade AS has developed designs for an innovative new vessel, the Vindskip.

The Vindskip (meaning ‘wind ship’) is a hybrid merchant vessel concept with a hull shaped like a symmetrical aerofoil. The apparent wind will generate an aerodynamic lift, providing forward motion. Lade AS says this concept is particularly relevant to dry cargo ship types such as ro-ro, ro-pax, PCTC, passenger and container vessels.

The vessel’s route would be largely software driven, based on the best weather and wind routeing to provide optimal speeds so that the LNG-driven electric propulsion system needs only minimal use once the vessel is up to speed.

Propulsion of the ship will vary between wind and power. However, a cruise control will balance the electric system so that it works dynamically together with the wind power system.

There is clearly a lot of work still to do before this innovation hits the water; and with the new low sulphur emission rules and relatively high bunker prices, it has generated a lot of interest. It would be an interesting diversion from the increasingly large containerships now under construction.

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