Sail, solar, and battery retrofit solution gets approval

A retrofit solution involving rigid sails, solar panels, and batteries has received an approval in principle from Italian class society RINA.

Designed by naval architects Aurelia, in partnership with Econowind, Wattlab and Vertom, the solution can be applied to almost any kind of vessel, whatever their purpose or cargo. It does not interfere with operational aspects, such as loading and offloading cargo. The solution also incorporates optimised weather-routing, and a smart decision support system developed by Hydrographic and Marine Consultants (HMC).

The resulting solution proposes two investment steps for shipowners looking to comply with the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII). The first, to be done in 2023, involves the installation of Solar Flatrack technology, batteries, and the SafePlan software developed by HMC. The combination of such technologies will aim to reduce the hours in service of the auxiliary engines. Any surplus energy not consumed by the vessel is used to charge the battery bank.

The Solar Flatrack is a modular solar energy system, that comprises movable, stackable, thin plates with integrated solar panels and inverters and acts as a sustainable generator.

The second stage of investment includes the installation of six rigid, 30 m high sails to provide supporting wind propulsion, along with switching from fossil to biofuels. The added wind propulsion provides power to the vessel and lowers the load of the main engine, thereby reducing fuel consumption.

One Dutch shipowner has already started this retrofit package on a general cargo ship with other owners looking at the concept.

Solutions to comply with CII and other incoming regulations such as the EU emissions trading system are being rolled out fast.