Wallenius Wilhelmsen and its project partners have secured Horizon Europe funding totalling €9m to support building its sailing ro-ro vessel, known as ‘Orcelle Wind’, which is scheduled to be planned, built and put into service within the next five years.
Roger Strevens, VP Global Sustainability, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, said: “The Horizon Europe EU funding shows the concept stood up to the scrutiny of the EU funding authorities and that they had the confidence to give it their support.”
The grant is divided between 11 partners, which include DNV, Alfa Laval, StormGeo, Volvo plus academia and research organisations. Together, they are considered to represent a 360-degree perspective on wind propulsion, including weather routing, vessel design, supply chain orchestration and crew training to test rig installation on an existing vessel. The project’s scope is to make the Orcelle Wind ready for commercial trading.
Strevens said: “The EU Funding project is based on a collaborative approach – we need strong partners to lead the way to zero emissions as soon as possible. We are proud to have a group of the best technical, operational, and academic partners, as well as one of our key customers, for the project. All have committed to working together to help make Orcelle Wind a reality.”
The EU project represents a solid opportunity to combine the investments needed for full-scale demonstration and data capture with advanced models and tools for wing propulsion vessels. Beyond the demonstration vessel, the partners will use the models and tools to develop advanced conceptual designs and operational plans for multiple vessel types to apply the wing solution.
Orcelle Wind is a 220m wind-powered PCTC vessel with capacity for over 7,000 cars, but will also be capable of carrying breakbulk and rolling equipment. Orcelle Wind is a crucial part of Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s fleet decarbonisation strategy and the ambition is for it to commence sailing in late 2026 or early 2027. Orcelle Wind is the first vessel from the Oceanbird concept for primarily wind-powered vessels. The concept shows that it is theoretically possible to reduce emissions from vessels by up to 90% if all emissions-influencing factors are aligned.
Niclas Dahl, MD Oceanbird, said: “The Oceanbird concept was developed through a partnership approach. We have seen the strength of gathering people from different sectors and companies to cover all perspectives. By working together, we will bring the Orcelle Wind project to life – and by that – take a huge step towards truly sustainable shipping.”
An important part of the Horizon Europe funding project is installing the wing sail test rig on an existing Wallenius Wilhelmsen vessel during mid-2024.