Space tech will provide deeper wind intelligence

Using space technology to help global shipping on its decarbonisation journey Using space technology to help global shipping on its decarbonisation journey

A European Space Agency grant will help to more accurately calculate potential fuel savings for commercial vessels moving to wind propulsion.

Smart Green Shipping Alliance Ltd. (SGSA) has been accepted into the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre United Kingdom (ESA BIC UK). Part of the business support package awarded to SGSA by the ESA includes a grant to develop a prototype digital tool that will enable the accurate quantification of available wind for any ship, on any route.

The digital evaluation software system will provide projected annual fuel savings accrued by retrofitting any ship with SGSA’s FastRig wingsail technology or by integrating the technology into a new-build ship design. The digital tool will allow users to quantify potential fuel savings for any ship, sailing specified routes at different speeds.

Therefore, when commercially available, the software system will give ship owners and operators a trusted verification platform with the data required to analyse the commercial benefit of installing SGSA’s FastRig wingsail technology. Use of the tool will also enable parties to negotiate contracts to finance the technology with increased confidence.

Additionally, the digital tool could function as a design support tool for naval architects developing new technologies and vessel designs that make use of wind assist solutions. For ship owners operating ships equipped with SGSA’s FastRig wingsail technology, the tool can also provide operational support information.

Receipt of the ESA BIC UK support package is of key strategic importance for SGSA’s long-term goal of launching a 100% renewable energy-powered autonomous ship in 2030. The digital evaluation software system to be designed by SGSA will serve as the platform that delivers the intelligence to power the autonomous ship’s AI auto-call-off system.

Development of the digital tool will be undertaken at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Atlas Centre at the Harwell Campus in Oxford, UK. The prototype will be finalised by February 2020, after which time it will be deployed for market testing by project partners. By August 2020, SGSA will have completed the comprehensive business plan and established a realistic 10-year roll-out strategy for the digital tool.

By Jake Frith

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