Marine

Vindskip ship concept uses the hull as a sail

Lade AS's Vindskip concept
Lade AS's Vindskip concept
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The concept applies an airfoil to the hull of a ship
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The concept applies an airfoil to the hull of a ship
Lade AS's Vindskip concept
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Lade AS's Vindskip concept

With its Vindskip (or Windship), the Norwegian designers at Lade AS have come up with an intriguing concept for a partly wind-powered "hybrid" merchant ship.

No, Gizmag hasn't quite forgotten maritime history, and Lade AS is not proposing a return to the Age of Sail – not quite, anyway. Instead, the concept envisages using a specially-shaped hull to harness the power of the wind.

Though the idea isn't 100 percent wind-powered, Lade AS claims that its apparently patented design would achieve fuel savings of 60 percent while reducing emissions by 80 percent.

How? Well, the company says it has drawn inspiration from the Aerospace Industry to create a hull which it describes as a symmetrical airfoil. The company claims the airfoil helps harnesses a force akin to aerodynamic lift, pulling the ship along, and company manager Terje Lade tells Gizmag that the symmetrical airfoil ensures that "lift" is generated when the wind comes from both port and starboard sides. "You can compare a symmetrical airfoil with a 'normal' sail," he tells Gizmag.

The international patent seems to simply lay claim to the application of an airfoil to the hull of a ship.

The company suggests that a computer navigation system could pull in weather data to plot an optimal course. The ship would use a liquefied natural gas-powered electrical generator for the remainder of its energy requirements and to get going from a standstill.

We welcome your assessment in the comments.

Source: Lade AS

33 comments
Alastair Carnegie
How would this ship fare in a Force 11 storm?
Andrew MacPhee
Not going under any bridges will limit access to some harbours. I bet it would redefine sea sickness on a whole new plane too.
EJ
"You can compare a symmetrical airfoil with a 'normal' sail" To my knowledge lift of a 'normal' sail (or a plane's wing) is generated exactly because of its a-symmetrical shape. The lift is transformed into a forward directed movement thanks to the working of the keel, which takes me to another question for such a ship. What does the text means by:"lift is generated when the wind comes from both port and starboard sides." ? Wind blows in only one direction at one particular moment, the movement of the ship also creates wind, but this is not what is meant here.
Mel Tisdale
I suppose it works in much the same way the blade of a Darrieus wind turbine does by using the forward force vector generated by the aerofoil shape. If that is the case, I wonder how much forward force is generated at the bow end when there is a tail wind. 60% saving seems optimistic, but I am no aerodynamicist. It would be interesting to see if stacking containers in a teardrop shape on a conventional container ship would provide any fuel saving, and if so, would it be enough to compensate for the reduced number of containers carried per voyage. (Of course, the tail of the teardrop could take the form of a wind inflated tapering shape at the stern just big enough to maintain laminar flow.)
Matt Fletcher
Really bad idea, unless you have an adjustable ballast that would allow you to lower and raise the ship when storms come but this would take a significant amount of energy to raise a ship as large as this. Still in good weather you could skirt across the ocean quickly and when a storm came you could take on ballast and make the ship significantly more stable then most ships today with a greater ballast. I hope this is their concept.
Jim Cochran
This looks like it would need a huge keel for stability, which would keep it out of most ports.
Τριαντάφυλλος Καραγιάννης
well, we're not exactly naval engineers around here, but the idea seems to hold some... wind to it. There's ample wind in the sea, and it can be put to good use, why not? I'm not sure how the ship (and its cargo) will fare on very rough seas, though. But I guess that's something naval engineers know how to solve :)
BigGoofyGuy
It seems similar (using wind to help power the ship) to Jaques Cousteus ship that has turbo sails on it. It does look cool but one wanders if the wind could top over such a tall ship?
Slowburn
I don't see the wind propulsion working well. I would expect better than 80% reduction in emissions of pollution over a ship burning Bunker C just by going to burning methane and using a catalytic converter.
Russ Pinney
The site of the 'designers' shows the ship being loaded by trucks. Presumably this is because some bright spark twigged that it will be impossible to load this baby with gantry cranes. Whoops. They clearly have no understanding of how modern shipping works. Hats off for having a go, though.