Marine

B9 Shipping developing 100 percent fossil fuel-free cargo sailing ships

B9 Shipping developing 100 per...
B9 Shipping's sailing cargo ships would feature a Dyna-rig sail system
B9 Shipping's sailing cargo ships would feature a Dyna-rig sail system
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B9 Shipping's sailing cargo ships would feature a Dyna-rig sail system
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B9 Shipping's sailing cargo ships would feature a Dyna-rig sail system
The B9 Shipping sailing cargo ship design would combine a Dyna-rig sail system and biogas-powered Rolls-Royce engine
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The B9 Shipping sailing cargo ship design would combine a Dyna-rig sail system and biogas-powered Rolls-Royce engine

Ireland-based B9 Shipping has started work on a full-scale demonstration vessel as part of its goal to design the modern world’s first 100 percent fossil fuel-free cargo sailing ships. Unlike most conventional large cargo vessels, which are powered by bunker fuel, B9 Shipping’s cargo ship would employ a Dyna-rig sail propulsion system combined with an off-the-shelf Rolls-Royce engine powered by liquid biomethane derived from municipal waste.

The company says all of the technologies that will be used in its cargo vessels are already proven and readily available. The Dyna-rig sail system was originally conceived in the 1960s by German hydraulics engineer Wilhelm Prolls and was first used by Italian shipbuilders Perini Navi in its 289 ft (88 m) clipper, The Maltese Falcon, which made its maiden voyage in 2006. The free standing and free rotating system has no rigging and comprises multiple relatively small sails that are operated electronically from the bridge. This allows them to be trimmed quickly to maximize wind power and turned out of the wind in the event of sudden squalls.

The Dyna-rig sail system is expected to provide around 60 percent of the vessel’s thrust, with the remainder coming from a biogas-powered Rolls Royce engine. The biogas will be produced by the anaerobic digestion (AD) of food waste and other commercial and industrial organic waste. B9 Shipping’s sister company, B9 Organic Energy, has recently sunk money into a 50,000 tonne per annum AD plant in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, to demonstrate the biofuel production technology.

The B9 Shipping sailing cargo ship design would combine a Dyna-rig sail system and biogas-powered Rolls-Royce engine
The B9 Shipping sailing cargo ship design would combine a Dyna-rig sail system and biogas-powered Rolls-Royce engine

To demonstrate the engineering and economic validity of its fossil fuel-free cargo ship design, B9 Shipping has started work on a full-scale demonstration vessel, wile a testing program, which is set to begin this month, is being conducted at the University of Southampton’s Wolfson Unit for Marine Technology and Industrial Aerodynamics (WUMTIA). This will involve tow tank and wind tunnel research using a scale model to identify a basic hull design and how it interacts with the Dyna-rig system.

The testing program will also examine the calibration of the thrust from the sailing rig with various hull shapes to ensure the maximum efficiencies in a wide range of wind and sea conditions, whilst conforming to the loading, unloading and port constraints of commercial cargo vessels. Once the towing tank and wind tunnel testing has been completed and the data validated, the company will undertake an economic analysis of the designs later in the year.

"We are designing B9 Ships holistically as super-efficient new builds transferring technology from offshore yacht racing combined with the most advanced commercial naval architecture,” says Diane Gilpin, Director of B9 Shipping. “We're combining proven technologies in a novel way to develop 'ready-to-go' future-proof and 100 per cent fossil fuel free ships.”

Here's a video from B9 Shipping outlining the technology they will use in their cargo sailing ship design.

Flagships of the Future

Source: B9 Shipping

24 comments
Skipjack
I do wonder whether it would make sense to put superthin solar cells (like there are in development) on the sails. Maybe with a sort of rig to rotate them upwards. That way one could use them combined with an electric motor for propulsion when there is no wind blowing.
Bob Fately
Next - an oil supertanker powered by wind!
William Volk
I would think that wing sails would be more efficient and better in bad conditions (they don't need to be trimmed). As in the land sailing record vehicle.
ZekeG
If they were to combine new electronic systems they could use turbines that drop into the water when going say 12-14 knots-lose two knots of speed but create enough power to then run for 6-8 hours at 6 knots for free basically.
Warhead
Solar power is too expensive, too inefficient, and too delicate for a working cargo ship. I'd think you could more easily employ wave generators that harness the up/down motion of waves and convert them into linear propulsion.
Dave Andrews
I was about to say something similar to Skipjack. If they were to use the new flexible solar cells on those huge sails, it would soak up electricity while sailing and could charge batteries for electric motors when there wasn't sufficient wind. Then there'd be no need for burning even the waste oil (which of course, still pollutes the air and some ongoing costs for the shipping companies.)
Griffin
Is the RR engine piston or Turbine?
Michael Mantion
Wind is great, sky sail great. rigid sails are great but large sails on large ships are a mistake. They simply do not produce enough power. They could also be very dangerous in high winds.
Jim Sadler
I think this is wonderful news. And it is wise that they do also carry an engine as hurricanes and large sailing vessels don't get along well at all. This way they are certain to be able to stay out of a storm's path. Six years ago a large sailing vessel and crew set out of Miami to avoid a hurricane while in port. Apparently sailing vessel at anchor, in port can rarely survive. All hands lost at sea and no trace of wreckage at all. Not even life preservers. Most people have no real clue as to what a hurricane in the tropics can be like. One rogue wave, immediately after the storm was observed to be 150 feet tall.
Mindbreaker
It would not be as efficient but some sturdy Savonius wind turbines could power a ship and charge batteries for when there is no wind. It wouldn't require any adjustments for wind direction. It is also possible to have an optional direct mechanical link to the screws to correct for some of the inefficiency.