A UK firm has put together a simulation which provides a holistic analysis of the benefits of wind propulsion technologies in shipping.


Cape Horn Engineering has developed a simulation workflow to compare the efficiency of different wind-assisted propulsion (WASP) devices, taking into account the type and size of vessel on which they are installed.

Specialising in computational fluid dynamics (CFD), the firm says it can optimise the design of composite vessels such as racing yachts and power boats, as well as renewable energy structures, with its simulation techniques.

”The simulations take into account the most important effects of adding the wings, Flettner rotors or any other type of wind powered device to the vessel,” the company says. “Both the water flow experienced by the hull at a given vessel speed and the air flow experienced by the hull top sides, superstructure and WASP devices, at a certain wind speed and direction, are modelled simultaneously in a single simulation.

“In the simulations, the vessel is sailing at constant speed, and an actuator disk models the effect of the propeller. Depending on the vessel resistance and the amount of thrust generated by the WASP devices, the actuator or virtual disc model determines the propeller RPM and propeller torque and thus delivered power.”

Cape Horn presented a study in which three specific configurations are compared: the first without WASP devices; the second with two solid wing set-ups; and the third with two Flettner rotors instead of solid wings.

”The aim of the study is not to give a quantitative comparison and show the merits of one type of device over the other, but rather to demonstrate the capabilities of the developed simulation setup to compare different types of WASP devices with a highly accurate all-in-one 6-DOF hydrodynamic and aerodynamic simulation,” Cape Horn says.

As the industry drives its decarbonisation targets, Cape Horn says it has become vital to maximise the efficiency of renewable energies ‘to revitalise an industry under pressure to reform’.