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Cargill’s Innovative Approach to Low-Carbon Shipping

3 Mins read

Agricultural trader Cargill Inc. is embracing a sustainable future for the maritime industry by testing a cargo ship equipped with large sails. This pioneering initiative, announced by the U.S. company on Monday, aims to carve out a new low-carbon path for the sector.

The vessel known as the Pyxis Ocean, chartered by Cargill and owned by Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Corp., embarked on its maiden voyage from Shanghai. At the heart of this groundbreaking project are the impressive 123-foot-tall sails that have been carefully installed on the ship’s deck.

These remarkable sails, named WindWings, have been ingeniously crafted by BAR Technologies of the U.K. and manufactured by Yara Marine Technologies of Norway. Cargill anticipates that these sails will deliver average fuel savings of up to 30% for newly built vessels. Furthermore, when coupled with alternative fuels, the potential for even greater efficiency arises. On an average global route, each sail has the capacity to save a notable 1.5 metric tons of fuel per day, with the potential for further savings on transoceanic journeys.

Considering that ships currently handle over 80% of global trade and contribute to nearly 3% of greenhouse gas emissions, this initiative holds immense promise. As recognized by the International Maritime Organization, finding effective solutions to reduce emissions from maritime transport is crucial. Cargill’s innovative approach demonstrates a tangible commitment to sustainability and actively addresses the industry’s environmental impact.

Decarbonization in the Maritime Industry

The maritime industry is currently undergoing a transformative journey towards decarbonization. While this endeavor poses various challenges, it is undeniably an exciting venture. Jan Dieleman, the president of Cargill’s Ocean Transportation business, emphasizes the significance of this transition: “A technology like WindWings doesn’t come without risk, and as an industry leader, we are not afraid to invest, take those risks and be transparent with our learnings to help our partners in maritime transition to a more sustainable future.”

Cargill’s WindWings project aims to revolutionize the industry by implementing advanced sail technology on vessels. To ensure optimal performance, the sails will be meticulously monitored and continually enhanced over the next few months. This iterative process allows for continuous improvement in design, operation, and overall performance.

BAR Technologies and Yara Marine have joined forces with Cargill and have already announced plans to manufacture hundreds of wings within the next four years. These partners actively contribute to the vision of reducing carbon emissions in shipping.

It is worth noting that the WindWings project receives co-funding from the European Union as part of its CHEK Horizon 2020 initiative. The EU’s support for decarbonizing shipping aligns with its commitment to creating a more environmentally sustainable future.

One example of a vessel that has embraced this innovative technology is the Pyxis Ocean. Measuring an impressive 751 feet in length and spanning 105 feet in width, this ship has a cargo capacity of up to 81,000 metric tons. Since its construction in 2017, the Pyxis Ocean has proudly sailed under the flag of Singapore, demonstrating its commitment to sustainable practices.

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