Michelin’s inflatable sails help reduce fuel consumption and cargo emissions
Michelin, a French multinational tire manufacturer, has turned ambition into action by presenting two innovations that address some of the major challenges impacting the future of mobility. Revealing a sustainability project aimed at the high seas, the company presented WISAMO, a Wing Sail Mobility wind mobility project designed in part as a contribution to their long-term goal of cutting global shipping emissions by more than half. by 2050.
Michelin’s WISAMO project aims to increase the efficiency of cargo ships using an inflatable sail. The wing sail system is not intended to replace ships’ engines, but to augment them with a clean, free and readily available source of power. The automated sail system inflates when conditions are favorable for navigation and deflates as soon as the engine is required to return to full capacity.
The inflatable wing sail exploits the wind, a free, universal and inexhaustible source of propulsion. Its revolutionary design allows a ship to reduce its fuel consumption and thus have a positive impact on the environment by reducing CO2 emissions. The system can be installed on most merchant ships and pleasure craft.
With the push of a button, the wing inflates into a full, inflated airplane wing using an air compressor and a rising telescopic mast. The mast is retractable, making it easy for a ship to enter ports and pass under decks. In total, the WISAMO wing system has the capacity to reduce the fuel consumption of a freighter by 10 to 20%.
Optimal windward positioning of the sail is also done automatically, which means that no additional personnel are required to operate the superstructure. According to Michelin, the sails also survive storms, as the inflatable body can absorb the forces that occur.
A collaboration with Michel Desjoyaux, world-renowned skipper and ambassador of the project, allows Michelin’s research teams to perfect its development. His contribution and his technical knowledge of this seasoned sailor will allow him to be tested in real maritime navigation conditions. As Desjoyeaux points out, âthe advantage of wind propulsion is that wind power is clean, free, universal and completely uncontroversial. It offers a very promising avenue for improving the environmental impact of merchant ships.“
The WISAMO system will be installed for the first time on a merchant ship in 2022, when Michelin plans to go into production after the test phase.
This year, Michelin announced its commitment to use 100% sustainable materials in all its tires by 2050. This commitment will reach a first milestone in 2030, with a Group-wide goal of having 40% sustainable materials. in its tires.