Oceanbird Unveils Boldly Finalized Design for World’s First Wind-Powered RoRo Vessel

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In a groundbreaking and environmentally conscientious move, Swedish company Oceanbird, in a strategic partnership with Alfa Laval and Wallenius, has revealed the boldly finalized tender design for the world’s inaugural wind-powered roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) vessel. This innovative and sustainable concept showcases a ship equipped with six striking wing sails running in parallel across the expansive deck, promising a significant and visually striking leap toward sustainable shipping practices.

Concept Image by Oceanbird

Following a meticulous and robust verification process through prototype and wind tunnel tests, the avant-garde design is poised to transition to the next phase—implementation at shipyards, according to Oceanbird. As part of this ambitious and forward-thinking initiative, an existing Wallenius vessel, the 2009-built Tirranna, is set to undergo a transformative retrofitting process with the cutting-edge and eye-catching wing sails.

The Oceanbird concept originated within a Swedish research cluster comprising the distinguished ship design and management company Wallenius Marine, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and SSPA Maritime center at Rise. In 2020, the collaborative cluster introduced a vessel featuring telescopic 80-meter-high wing sails, with studies indicating a remarkable and noteworthy 90% reduction in emissions.

To catalyze wing sail production, Wallenius engaged Alfa Laval, leading to the establishment of the joint venture company Oceanbird. However, the initial and seemingly complex telescopic wing sail design was adeptly addressed by Oceanbird’s R&D team, which managed to halve the size while astutely maintaining performance through a two-segment design with camber, demonstrating both ingenuity and adaptability.

Niclas Dahl, Oceanbird Managing Director, emphasized the inherent versatility of the smaller and lighter wing sail, noting its applicability on existing vessels. This adaptation holds significant promise for the maritime industry in reducing total emissions caused by shipping.

Simultaneously, Wallenius Marine boldly spearheads the ship design project for the first fully sailing vessel based on the Oceanbird concept—Orcelle Wind—funded by the EU. The ongoing and visionary collaboration between the original Swedish cluster continues in the EU project Orcelle Horizon, featuring eleven partners and aiming to construct the world’s first fully sailing car-carrying vessel.

Throughout the year 2024, potential and noteworthy small alterations to the ship design may arise, informed by new and comprehensive wind tunnel tests and results from Oceanbird’s prototype testing in Landskrona and onboard Tirranna. Negotiations with shipyards for construction are scheduled to commence in early 2025, marking another critical and eagerly anticipated milestone.

Video from Oceanbird

Carl Fagergren, leading the Orcelle Wind ship design project at Wallenius Marine, expressed satisfaction at reaching the bold milestone of completing the tender design. He underscored the paramount importance of collaboration among complementary partners for the project’s bold and successful realization.

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