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MOL installs first rigid, winged sail on bulk carrier

Mitsui OSK Lines of Japan has posted initial shots of the telescopic hard sail that has been installed on a bulk carrier being constructed at Oshima Shipbuilding.

The 770-ft 100,000-dwt newbuilding is being developed under MOL’s Wind Challenger project. The first wind-assisted vessel is slated for delivery in October 2022. Following the launching of an academic research project in 2009, the first vessel to deploy the rigid sail was ordered in December 2020.

Built separately at the Oshima Shipyard, the sail was completed earlier this year. Wind tunnel experiments have been conducted to estimate the thrust generated from the sail.   MOL anticipates a reduction of 5% in fuel consumption on the Japan-Australia route and 8% on the Japan-North America west coast route. A coal-carrying bulker for Tohoku Electric Power Co. will be the first customer.

Weight has been a key consideration in the development of the sail. The Wind Challenger is made of a glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) to ensure that it does not impact the vessel’s ability to load and transport cargo.

The operation is fully automated, with the sail automatically detecting the strength and direction of the wind with a sensor. Thus, the sail will be extended system when the winds are is weak and lowered when the winds are strong.

 (MOL photo at Oshima Shipyard)


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