Michelin and two Swiss inventors are spearheading a new project called WISAMO (Wing Sail Mobility) which promises to reduce the carbon footprint of maritime vessels.
One of the collaborators is Michel Desjoyaux, a world-renowned skipper and ambassador of the project. He along with a Michelin team of engineers are working on a new automated, telescopic, inflatable wing sail system that can be fitted on both merchant ships and pleasure craft.
Desjoyaux’s input and technical knowledge will come in handy when testing the new sail system in actual maritime shipping conditions.
“The advantage of wind propulsion is that wind energy is clean, free, universal and totally non-controversial,” says Desjoyeaux. “It offers a very promising avenue to improving the environmental impact of merchant ships.”
According to the scientists, the wing sail’s revolutionary design will allow a ship to reduce its fuel consumption and thereby have a positive impact on the environment.
The system is especially suitable for ro-ro ships, bulk carriers and oil and gas tankers; it can be fitted as original equipment on new-builds or retrofitted on in-service vessels.
According to Michelin, the wing’s range of use is one of the market’s broadest, with proven effectiveness on many points of sail, and especially when close-hauled (windward).
It can also be used on every maritime shipping route; the telescopic mast is retractable, making it easy for a ship to enter harbors and pass under bridges.
All in all, the system can improve a ship’s fuel efficiency by up to 20%.
The WISAMO system will first be fitted on a merchant ship in 2022, when Michelin expects it to go into production following completion of the trial phase.
Image and content: Michelin Group