At the 2021 Movin’On global sustainable mobility summit, Michelin presented the Wing Sail Mobility (WISAMO) project, an automated, telescopic, inflatable wing sail system that can be fitted on both merchant ships and pleasure craft. The system is the product of a collaborative venture between Michelin Research & Development and two Swiss inventors who share the Group’s “all-sustainable” vision.
The inflatable wing sail harnesses the wind, a free, universal and inexhaustible source of propulsion. Its revolutionary design enables a ship to reduce its fuel consumption and thereby have a positive impact on the environment by lowering CO2 emissions.
Designed and developed by the WISAMO project team, the system is installable on most merchant ships and pleasure craft. Especially suitable for ro-ro ships, bulk carriers and oil and gas tankers, it can be fitted as original equipment on newbuilds or retrofitted on in-service vessels.
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 be used on every maritime shipping route. The telescopic mast is retractable, making it easy for a ship to enter harbours and pass under bridges. In all, the system can improve a ship’s fuel efficiency by up to 20%*.
A collaboration with Michel Desjoyaux, a world-renowned skipper and ambassador of the project, enables Michelin’s research teams to perfect its development. His input and technical knowledge of this seasoned sailor will enable it to be tested in actual maritime shipping conditions. As Desjoyeaux points out, “the advantage of wind propulsion is that wind energy is clean, free, universal and totally non-controversial. It offers a very promising avenue to improving the environmental impact of merchant ships.”
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.
The WISAMO project is Michelin’s contribution to enabling greener, softer maritime mobility in advance of future regulations. Michelin is also taking action to reduce the environmental impact of its supply chain. In addition to this commitment, and in line with its strategic plan, the Group is basing a portion of its growth on the development of new businesses.