Parachutes on container ships will fight for lower fuel consumption and emissions

Parachutes on container ships will fight for lower fuel consumption and emissions

How can a huge parachute reduce the fuel consumption and emissions of powerful ships that transport equally massive amounts of cargo? This question was answered by Airseas from France, which installed its first Seawing automatic parachute (in the form of a 1: 2 scale prototype) on a cargo ship and will begin its six-month testing in January. On the basis of the conclusions, it will be checked whether parachutes on container ships make sense.

How can parachutes on container ships reduce fuel consumption and thus emissions? They are almost modern sails

On paper, adding a full-size Seawing parachute aboard a container ship pays off for both the shipping company and the environment. According to estimates, it is able to reduce up to 20% of fuel consumption and thus exhaust emissions, which will be verified by the test on the 154-meter Ville de Bordeaux container ship worth $ 30 million, which is currently leased by Airbus and used to transport large aircraft structures between production plants in across Europe and the final assembly plant in Toulouse.

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Airseas has given this container ship a 500-square-meter parachute that is linked to special on-board Seawing equipment. Thanks to this connection, Seawing enters the game automatically and safely, because after catching the wind on the mast, it is released on a long rope to catch a strong wind at an altitude of about 200 meters above sea level. Then it begins to perform a propelling function, like a modern sail. Time will tell if it’s effective.

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At sea, the winds are both constant and predictable, so nature itself has dispelled safety concerns. However, not only she has a lot to say here, because the parachute is constantly supervised by an automatic system that is programmed to set it in order to obtain maximum thrust. Seawing computers also work with a ship’s navigation systems to monitor wind conditions and change the ship’s route to take the most efficient route without affecting the time of arrival.

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