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Cargo ship equipped with new wind-power propulsion system sails into Mobile Bay

A French cargo ship with a state-of-the-art wind power propulsion system has arrived in Mobile Bay. The vessel is delivering sections of a new airplane that will go to the Airbus manufacturing facility in Alabama’s port city.

The Ville de Bordeaux, departed from Monitor, France on June 17th. The craft is 505 feet by 78 feet. It has a draught of 18 feet and can move at 17mph while finishing a 15 day voyage. David Ferrer, CTO of Bound4blue, explained the significance of the wind powered technology.

“This deployment will mark the first-ever fixed suction sail installation on a Ro-Ro ship, demonstrating that suction sails can be deployed on ships with high weather deck and large windage area, not compromising the vessel’s stability.”

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The ship’s new wind power propulsion system consists of three 72 foot eSAILs. The sails reportedly use both wind and air suction to propel the vessel. Bound4blue, the company who developed the sails, said each eSAIL produces six to seven times more lift than a traditional one, significantly reducing stress on the the ship’s engines. The change translates to greater fuel efficiency and fewer emissions.

According to Bound4blue, the eSAIL is based on a standard slew-bearing actuated by an electric motor. This part is very similar to a deck crane. The eSAIL mechanically connects to the vessel by means of a flange, which is secured using bolts.

The business also noted that it has eSAILs that can tilt over if a vessel is going underneath a bridge. The Ville de Bordeaux is owned by the French operator Louis Dreyfus Armateurs and operates exclusively for Airbus.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on X @ShipleyAusten

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