Mitsubishi’s Pyxis Ocean Kicks Off Maiden Voyage Sporting Groundbreaking Sails

Pyxis Ocean set off on a maiden voyage as the first carrier retrofitted with the WindWings sails 7 photos
Photo: Cargill
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It's no secret that the maritime transportation industry is harnessing the power of wind in innovative ways on its way to cutting emission levels and reaching the holy grail of green commercial operations. Big players are betting on trailblazing sailing technologies with truly revolutionary potential, such as WindWings by BAR Tech and Yara Marine Technologies.
Pyxis Ocean, a Mitsubishi Corporation commercial ship charted by Cargill, is not your average cargo ship. What makes it special are the enormous wing sails (up to 37.5 meters/156 feet high), promising spectacular fuel savings, which then translate to lower emission levels.

The Pyxis Ocean vessel recently set off on its maiden voyage after being retrofitted with two WindWings. It's an important trip during which the partners involved in this green project will monitor all aspects related to the sail system's performance.

The WindWings still can and will be improved in terms of design and function based on this trailblazing voyage. Yara Marine Technologies, the Norwegian company in charge of the retrofitting project, believes it will manufacture hundreds of these sails over the next four years.

The other partners in the project are Cargill and BAR Technologies. BAR Tech is already working on new hull designs with optimized hydrodynamics.

The WindWings concept claims it can enable drastic fuel savings of up to 30% on new vessels. Numbers can go even higher if used in conjunction with green fuels. According to the manufacturer, this system helps save more than 1.5 tons of fuel per day on a typical global route and even more on transoceanic routes. Like most contemporary sail systems, it's also 100% automated. These huge wings can be launched or folded away with just the touch of a button.

One of the most important benefits is that it can be effectively installed on existing ships. We've seen retrofit solutions being presented as the best alternative for quick results in both maritime and air transportation.

When it comes to shipping, data shows that more than half of the bunkers operating worldwide are almost ten years old. A retrofit solution like WindWings could help keep these vessels in operation with important fuel savings and even lower costs over time. Pyxis Ocean, the Mitsubishi carrier that became the first one to be retrofitted with the WindWings sails, is already six-year-old.

The folks who developed this groundbreaking concept are the naval architects at BAR Tech, founded by former members of the British America's Cup team. Yara Marine is the industrialization partner responsible for producing the WindWings and retrofitting the Pyxis Ocean vessel. The project also got funds from the European Union.

Right now, the WindWing sails are operating at sea for the first time, during the Mitsubishi carrier's maiden voyage after being retrofitted at the COSCO shipyard in China.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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