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Marfret all sails aloft

A wind of innovation is blowing through Marfret. As part of our commitment to energy transition, we have fitted one of our ships with 21st-century sails. Four aluminium sails, in fact, will provide power to the Marfret Niolon as it is borne by the trade winds on the MPV service.

Using the force of the wind -a clean, free and infinite source of energy- for assistance was the subject of a months-long study, which led to Marfret equipping the Marfret Niolon with four wing-shaped sails, which are expected to provide fuel savings of between 10 and 15%. “We firmly believe in the future of containerisation and energy and that’s what led us to opt for the technology developed by the Dutch firm eConowind.” Indeed, the wing-sails are easy to deploy and, since they are stored in a 40’ container. “All the ingenuity of the container, the foundation in many ways of our business, has here been applied to a system to assist the ship’s propulsion,” points out Guillaume Vidil. Containerisation also allows great adaptability, as the wings can easily be transferred from one ship to another to suit the needs of our shipping lines.

Inside, the control system and hydraulics deploy the sails and retract them on entering port. The quartermaster on the bridge decides when to raise or lower the sails, depending on the weather conditions encountered during the voyage.

Marfret intends extending the system to its entire roro fleet, combining it with coupled reversible alternators, providing hybrid wind and electric power. “We are committed to making our energy transition happen and to develop our position as a company apart from the rest,” insists Vidil. As the world begins to grasp the challenges laid down by global warming, Marfret intends playing its part in the collective effort.

Photo: The Marfret Niolon fitted with four aluminium sails that will provide fuel savings of 10-15%.