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Cargill Shares Outcome of the World’s First Wind-Powered Ocean Vessel’s Maiden Voyage

Cargill today revealed exciting results of the six-month test period of the Pyxis Ocean, underscoring the potential for the wind assisted propulsion technology in moving the shipping industry toward renewable energy use. The MC Shipping Kamsarmax vessel retrofitted with two WindWings® -large solid wind sails developed by BAR Technologies - - has achieved performance consistent with what was predicted which is equivalent to an average of 3 tonnes of fuel per day.

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Pyxis Ocean sailing through the English Channel from Spain to Amsterdam, March 2024 (Photo: Business Wire)

“We are encouraged by the results and have learned a great deal about implementing wind assisted propulsion on dry bulk vessels,” said Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill’s Ocean Transportation business. “We could never have done this alone – BAR Technologies and MC Shipping and have been fantastic partners in making the Pyxis Ocean a reality as well as the captain and crew. We are on the leading edge of change in the shipping industry and believe technologies that harness the wind could be an important, cost-effective way to achieve our decarbonization goals in the short, medium and long-term.”

The Pyxis Ocean hit open waters in August 2023 and during the first six months of testing it has sailed the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, North and South Atlantic, and passed Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope. The ship was retrofitted with two WindWings®, which measure 37.5 meters in height and resemble large airplane wings. The wings are installed vertically to catch the wind and propel the ship forward, allowing the ship’s engine to be turned down so that the ship can travel at the same speed as a conventional ship using less fuel. The wings are controlled by a touch panel on the bridge. A simple traffic light system tells the crew when to raise or lower the sails. Once raised, the operation is fully automated: sensors onboard constantly measure the wind, and the sails self-adjust to the optimal configuration.

Wind assisted propulsion has potential to be a cost-efficient way of supporting the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) new greenhouse gas strategy. One of the IMOs 2030 targets is to have 5 percent, striving for 10 percent, of energy coming from very low carbon sources by 2030: wind assisted propulsion could be an important way of achieving this.

The early voyages have provided insight on more than just the application of the sails on a vessel, it has also highlighted broader logistical challenges in the global maritime system. Given that every port, terminal, and berth is different, their involvement is critical towards integrating Wind Assisted Propulsion (WAP) technology into the global maritime system on a wider scale.

John Cooper, BAR Technologies CEO added, “The results of the Pyxis Ocean’s first voyage with WindWings® installed clearly demonstrate that wind assisted propulsion can secure significant fuel savings and emissions reduction. For example, in near optimum sailing conditions, during an open sea voyage, the Pyxis Ocean achieved fuel savings of 11 tonnes per day. And while the Pyxis Ocean has two WindWings®, we anticipate the majority of Kamsarmax vessels will carry three wings, further increasing the fuel savings and emissions reductions by a factor of 1.5. With Cargill we are now able to validate our performance predictions and modelling in real-world conditions, it’s an exciting time as we begin to roll out WindWings® production globally.”

“Cargill is creating ways for all WAP vessels - not just the Pyxis Ocean - to operate on global trade routes,” said Dieleman. “So far, we’ve engaged with more than 250 ports to find ways of enabling vessel with large scale WAP to berth. This complexity is where Cargill truly excels, and how we can leverage our unique role in the maritime industry. We are not afraid to be a development partner and invest, share risks with partners, and to make a difference in transforming the industry.”

Cargill will continue the testing and experimenting of operational, technical and commercial aspects of the Pyxis Ocean to incorporate the maximum amount of learning into potential design of future installations before scaling up.

Notes to editors:

[1]

  • BAR Technolgies and Cargill estimate an annual average savings of 3 tonnes of fuel reductions per day (this equates to 11,2/t/day CO2e well-to-wake emissions reductions. This equates to roughly 14 percent savings on Pyxis Ocean.
  • Average performance measured so far is within 10% of predictions made using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations by BAR Technologies to estimate how well wind assisted propulsion would work on Cargill routes.
  • During optimal sailing conditions, the Pyxis Ocean achieved savings of more than 11t/day in fuel consumption, which translates to 41t/day less CO2e emitted well-to-wake, or a 37% emissions savings.
  • The 11.2t/day CO2e average above works out to be about 2650CO2e/yr (11.2t x 237 average sailing days per year = 2650t well-to-wake). This would be the equivalent of removing 480 cars off the road. (Reference: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Typical Passenger Vehicle | US EPA)
  • Cargill and MC Shipping have engaged DNV as an independent third party to review and verify the fuel savings calculations.

About WindWings

  • Cargill was the first to install “WindWings,” large solid wing sails with a potential to deliver double-digit percentage reductions in emissions.
  • Working with partner BAR Technologies, Cargill installed WindWings on a Kamsarmax vessel, Pyxis Ocean, that we are chartering from MC Shipping.
  • Installation was done at COSCO, in Shanghai, China in 2023.
  • Pyxis Ocean is now the most energy efficient Kamsarmax in Cargill’s fleet of chartered vessels
  • The Pyxis Ocean will be used to inform the potential scale-up across the fleet and industry. Cargill plans to continuously learn how to further improve design, operation, and performance.
  • The WindWing project is part of a project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 955286

About Cargill Ocean Transportation

Cargill Ocean Transportation is a leading freight-trading organization that charters around 650 vessels worldwide at any one time. Founded in 1956 in Geneva, we benefit from the rich heritage and expert capabilities of Cargill’s global operations in food, agriculture and commodities trading. Our customers, including other companies as well as Cargill’s own internal businesses, are at the center of everything we do. We provide services that combine the latest digital technology with green solutions to make shipping safer and more sustainable.

About Cargill

Cargill is committed to providing food, ingredients, agricultural solutions, and industrial products to nourish the world in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way. Sitting at the heart of the supply chain, we partner with farmers and customers to source, make and deliver products that are vital for living.

Our 160,000 team members innovate with purpose, providing customers with life’s essentials so businesses can grow, communities prosper, and consumers live well. With 159 years of experience as a family company, we look ahead while remaining true to our values. We put people first. We reach higher. We do the right thing—today and for generations to come. For more information, visit Cargill.com and our News Center

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