Wave propulsion pilot for Faeroese ferry

The 6 ton Wavefoil module nearing completion

A Faroe Islands ferry will soon be using experimental underwater wings to help it generate additional forward propulsion in rough water.

The wavefoils on the front of the ship enable the waves to contribute to propelling the ship forward. This reduces fuel consumption. At the same time, the foils can dampen some of the pitching and heaving motion from the waves and provide a more comfortable journey. The design has been developed by Eirik Bøckmann, who won the regional finals of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Researchers’ Grand Prix with a lecture on wave-propelled ships in 2013.

The wavefoils are predicted to save about 4 per cent in fuel costs along the coastal route from Bergen to Kirkenes, which snakes its way between sheltered islands. But where there are more waves, savings of up to 15 per cent may be possible under ideal conditions. The rougher the waters, the greater the potential savings, in other words.

Last December, Bøckmann attended Tekna’s conference for express boats and ferries. While there, he was contacted by the state-owned Faroese transport company Strandfaraskip Landsins (SSL).

“SSL’s 45 metre long ferry M/F Teistin turned out to be made to order for our pilot module. Teistin’s route sees a lot of really rough Atlantic weather come straight in from the west. Our foil module fits perfectly in the ferry’s forepeak tank,” said Bøckmann.

Different kinds of foils on boats aren’t completely new. Various foil designs have been experimented with since at least the 1800s.

Bøckmann’s wavefoils have changed a lot since the first models were tested six years ago. They have morphed from being large and fairly cumbersome to a smaller, manoeuvrable design that is retractable.

In the summer of 2018, Wavefoil conducted some model trials in collaboration with Havyard and Havila Kystruten, a coastal cruise company that will compete with Hurtigruten. Wavefoil is also working on its own version of wavefoils for high-speed catamarans. The goal of this foil is primarily to make the boats more comfortable, rather than to save fuel.

In August, the pilot module is scheduled to be transported to the Faroe Islands and the installation begins on M/S Teistin on September 1.

By Jake Frith

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