Cargo Ship Powered By Wind Sets Sail

August 23, 2023

Wind power can make a big difference.

Dr. Simon Bullock, shipping researcher at the University of Manchester, England, as a cargo ship retrofitted with giant sails set sail, offering the first real-world test of a new technology aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

What To Know: A cargo ship, called the Pyxis Ocean, retrofitted with giant British-designed, Chinese-manufactured sails (called WindWings) recently set sail on its maiden voyage, sailing from China to Brazil. This voyage will provide the industry with the first real-world test of a new technology which allows the ship to be powered by the wind, rather than solely by its engine.

The Goal? To reduce carbon emissions from an industry which is estimated to be responsible for just more than 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions (which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency explains causes "the Earth's atmosphere to warm"). The WindWings – made from the same material as wind turbines – "could hopefully eventually reduce a cargo ship's lifetime emissions by 30%," BBC reports.

Looking Ahead: Cargill – the shipping company that has chartered the Pyxis Ocean – explains, "The performance of the WindWings will be closely monitored over the coming months to further improve their design, operation, and performance, with the aim that the Pyxis Ocean will be used to inform the scale-up and adoption across not only Cargill's fleet but the industry." John Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of BAR Technologies (which developed the WindWings) said, “If international shipping is to achieve its ambition of reducing CO2 emissions, then innovation must come to the fore. Wind is a near marginal cost-free fuel and the opportunity for reducing emissions, alongside significant efficiency gains in vessel operating costs, is substantial."

Cargill and BAR Technologies' ground-breaking wind technology sets sail, chartering a new lower-carbon path for the maritime industry

Pioneering wind-powered cargo ship sets sail

by Jenna Lee,