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VIDEO: Automaker eyes wind powered ships to cut supply chain carbon

Written by Nick Blenkey
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136 meter RO/RO demo ship has 4,200 sq.m of sail

NOVEMBER 29, 2018 — French automaker Groupe Renault has signed a three year agreement with Neoline, a start up that says it aims to become the first modern shipowner to fully embrace energy efficiency by relying on wind power as its primary energy source.

Nearly 60% of Renault’s parts and vehicles are transported by sea.

“Groupe Renault’s objective is to reduce the environmental impact of each vehicle throughout its entire life cycle, from parts transportation up to delivery and end-of-life processing,” says Jean-Philippe Hermine, Vice President, Strategic Environmental Planning Groupe Renault. “In the context of our strategy to explore new sustainable mobility solutions and to continue along the road to reducing our carbon footprint, the solution designed by Neoline, which combines energy efficiency and operational relevance, has truly captured our attention”.

Jean Zanuttini, CEO of Neoline, declared: “We are especially pleased that Groupe Renault, a key player in accessible and sustainable mobility for all, is the first partner to join us on board our journey by trusting in Neoline’s maritime transport solution. Considering that the traditional sea freight accounts for nearly 3% of CO2 emissions in Europe, Neoline aims to build an innovative French solution to address a global environmental challenge while remaining within an industrial and competitive framework, with the support from its partners.”

Neoline’s plans to develop industrial-scale wind-powered freight services have led to the design of a commercial demo that, it says, has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90% through the use of wind power primarily, combined with a cost-cutting speed and optimized energy mix, compared to a traditional cargo ship on an equivalent route.

The demo, a 136 meter RO/RO ship with 4,200 square meters of sail area, features a blend of technical solutions borrowed from the maritime transport industry, as well as from competitive sailing

The objective is to build two ships based on this model and to commission the vessels by 2020-2021 on a pilot route joining Saint-Nazaire, the U.S. Eastern seaboard and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

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