VIDEO: Michelin inflatable wing sail system marks a milestone

Written by Nick Blenkey
WISAMO inflatable wing sail system

WISAMO inflatable wing sail system is being developed for a range of vessel types.

An inflatable wing sail system developed by Michelin has marked a milestone. The sail has now been awarded an Approval in Principle (AiP) by classification society DNV. This is the first AiP to have been awarded to an inflatable wing sail design and is currently being installed for testing on the DNV classed MN Pélican.

Called WISAMO (WIng SAil MObility) the sail was first introduced in 2021 and is an inflatable, retractable, automated wing sail that can be installed on commercial vessels and recreational vessels. The sail is automated with a system developed by Michelin R&D and is retractable for access into ports and under bridges.

The initial tests of a WISAMO sail were carried out on a sailing yacht. Now the system will be tested under commercial maritime navigation conditions with a 100 square meter system that is being installed on MN Pélican. The 155 meter long, 8,600 DWT Compagnie Maritime Nantaise RO/RO cargo vessel, operates under charter to Brittany Ferries and sails between Poole, U.K., and Bilbao, Spain.

“We are very pleased to receive this AIP for the WISAMO solution,” said Gildas Quemeneur, initiative leader at Michelin. “It is a very important step forward the further development of this innovative solution to contribute to maritime transport decarbonization. We are now ready for the wing sail usage on the MN Pélican RO/RO that will allow experimental tests in heavy maritime conditions. All returns of experience will now contribute to build the larger WISAMO wing sail.”

“For the maritime industry to reach the ambitious decarbonization targets that have been set by regulators and increasing demanded by stakeholders, we need to look to enabling technologies that can boost vessel performance, reduce fuel use, and enhance sustainability,” said Hasso Hoffmeister, senior principal engineer at DNV Maritime. “This is why we are seeing a growing interest in WAPS [wind assisted propulsion systems] for owners where the combination of compliance strategy, vessel type, and route offer potential benefits. However, as with every novel technology, acceptance and uptake can only grow from a foundation of trust, supported by rigorous, trusted and evolving technical standards. We are very pleased to award Michelin this AiP and look forward to working with them as the project progresses.”

The AiP has been awarded based on DNV’s WAPS ST-0511 standard which provides a framework for the verification and certification of wind assistance propulsion systems. It can be applied in obtaining an Approval in Principle, a Design Approval or a Type Approval. These verifications and certifications can also be obtained as part of the integration into a vessel or independently. The ST-0511 technical standard is a complement to the DNV WAPS class notation, which is focussed on the integration of systems onboard vessels, whether retrofitted or as part of a newbuilding.

Model of ship with WISAMO inflatable wing sail
The AiP certificate presentation with a model of the installation on the MN Pélican. L to R: Davis Bertrand, key account Manager – DNV, Gildas Quemeneur, CEO – WISAMO, Edouard Leveau, technical manager – Maritime Nantaise.
Categories: News, Technology Tags: , , , , ,