Michelin’s inflatable sails hybridize freighters to reduce emissions
Beyond the installation of rubber on the least efficient hypercars in the world, the Michelin group also participates in more sustainable inflatable projects. Its Wing Sail Mobility (WISAMO) project aims to increase the efficiency of cargo ships using an inflatable sail that deploys to take advantage of the available wind, retracting quickly on demand.
Developed as part of a joint project between Michelin R&D and two Swiss inventors, the wing sail system is not intended to replace ship engines but to supplement them with a clean, free and easy source of energy. available. The automated sail collapses like an accordion on top of the deck when not in use. With the push of a button, the wing inflates into a full, inflated airplane wing using an air compressor and a rising telescopic mast.
Used alone or in a group, the wing sail turns wind into forward momentum to reduce the ship’s overall fuel consumption by 10 to 20 percent, according to Michelin. The company claims that the double-sided surface of the inflated sail improves performance over traditional flat sails, especially when it comes to sailing upwind. And we’re sure it doesn’t hurt that the baffled mainsail pairs well with the rubbery pleats of the chubby Michelin man, serving as a sort of highly visible Michelin billboard.
The WISAMO system is automated, an important point as merchant ships will likely not have the manpower or expertise to work a traditional sail. The system also works by repositioning the wing (s) in the optimum position for wind conditions.
Michelin claims that the wing sail is able to withstand stormy conditions, absorbing energy with its inflated body. If conditions turn out to be too harsh, it can retract quickly until the sky clears, which is also necessary when cruising under bridges and in ports.
The WISAMO wing sail is a plug-and-play design that can be installed on existing vessels or integrated into new construction. Michelin says it is particularly well suited for commercial roll-on / roll-off, bulk carriers and tankers, but can also be used on pleasure craft.
Michelin highlighted the WISAMO project at this month’s Movin ‘On World Sustainability Summit. He has built a 100 square meter (1,076 square foot) sail and plans to complete the tests on top of a sailboat with the help of French sailor and racer Michel Desjoyeaux. From there, it will perform tests on top of a merchant ship in 2022 ahead of planned production. The company intends the wing sails to contribute to the much broader long-term goal of reducing global emissions from shipping by more than 50% by 2050.
The five-minute English-subtitled video below takes you behind the scenes of the WISAMO project.
WISAMO: Designed by Michelin and powered by the wind (Movin On) | Michelin