London: With bunker prices remaining very high a new technology likely to hit the market in 2015 promises to cut fuel bills dramatically.
Oceanfoil has developed wingsails that can deliver 20% savings to owners’ fuel bills, according to managing director, Charles Moray. Moreover, owners can expect to reap the costs back from the installation of these sails within 15 to 18 months.
Oceanfoil’s technology is nothing new, merely refined. The technology produced a verified reduction in fuel consumption of up to 10% in sea trials of an areofoil wingsail using the original version of the technology which was fitted to a 6,570 dwt bulk carrier in 1986/7.
However, at the conclusion of these trials, with bunker fuel costing around $80-100 a ton, it was felt that the economics involved did not justify pursuing the project.
The price of bunker fuel is currently approximately US$600 a ton and rising. Oceanfoil was established in late 2012 to acquire the intellectual property and patents involved in the 1980s wingsail project, but with a view to launching a development programme to materially improve the aerodynamic qualities of the original wingsail design using computerised and related technologies, including computational fluid dynamics testing, which were not available in the 1980s
“We have materially improved the original aerodynamic design and our current modelling and computational fluid dynamics testing indicate the potential to achieve reductions in fuel consumption of up to 20% from our current design,” Moray insists.
The wingsails can be fitted to any size of vessel from 5,000 dwt up to the largest vessels afloat. The wingsails need a minimum wind speed of 10 knots to start becoming effective. The only limitation is that the vessel does not have surrounding superstructure or cargo handling equipment which would reduce or otherwise hinder the ability of the wingsails to make optimum use of the available wind to provide thrust.
Oceanfoil wingsails are no higher than the highest masthead light of the vessel to which they are fitted so there are no navigational restrictions for any vessel using this brand unlike other wind-assisted technology being touted in the market.
Smaller vessels would require only two wingsails, whereas larger vessels of 300,000 dwt tons or above could require up to six wingsails.
Sea trials and classification and related approvals and certifications are expected during 2014, with the product set to hit the market in early 2015. [18/09/13]
Photo: HRH the Duke of Edinburgh views Oceanfoil's wingsail tests on Timsbury Lake