Wind Propulsion Is the Future of Cargo Shipping and Neoliner Is Here to Prove It

On the way to a greener future, the maritime transport industry is trying out various options, some of which are still too expensive and difficult to implement. But there’s an inexhaustible and clean energy source that is just being rediscovered and that could prove to be the best solution for sustainable shipping.
Neoliner will use a mix of wind-assisted propulsion and conventional energy sources 7 photos
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France-based Neoline was born a few years ago, for the specific purpose of designing and building the vessels of the future - wind propelled cargo ships. Major players from related industries have joined the project, which has recently awarded Neopolia Mobility a contract for making the first ship. The Neoliner will begin construction this summer and most likely be commissioned in 2024.

This 446 ft (136 meters) long ship will have a total sail surface of 4200 m², with duplex rigging and anti-drift fins for effective wind propulsion. As a first-generation vessel, it will use a mix of mechanical propulsion and conventional energy sources, to be able to reach the required commercial speed, ensure port maneuvers and power its onboard systems.

Powered by a hybrid 4000 kW main engine, the Neoliner will sail at 11 knots, which is a reduced operating speed. Lowering the operating speed is another important trend in the shipping sector, which helps reduce energy consumption.

The pilot vessel is designed to be able to carry all sorts of cargo, thanks to its 2 mobile decks and loading ramps. It can load freight of up to 200 tons and, in terms of volume, it’s got enough room for 500 cars.

When it’s ready, the Neoliner will set off on a route that connects St-Nazaire (France) to the U.S. East Coast, by 2023. Before reaching this point, the Neoline team conducted a complex routing study, where various operational conditions were simulated, to test the future vessel’s capabilities. And the results were encouraging – 80 to 90% fuel consumption savings and reaching the destination on time, at 11 knots speed.

This first generation of pilot ships that use wind propulsion is only the beginning. In time, Neoline plans to develop even larger vessels and reach zero emissions.

 Download: Neoline and Neopolia Mobility to begin construction of the Neoliner ship (PDF)


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