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Smart Green Shipping (SGS) has informed Bunkerspot that it will be working with Nuclear Transport Solutions (NTS) as part of the Winds of Change project.

The two-year Winds of Change project, which held its first in-person kick-off meeting on 3 May at the University of Southampton, aims to assess the technical, commercial and environmental viability of using wing sail designs to provide direct thrust to commercial ships.

A part of the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, NTS is a provider of secure nuclear transport solutions.

The Pacific Grebe is one of a fleet of three specialist vessels in the Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited (PNTL) fleet. The fleet, over its history, has covered millions of miles shipping a range of nuclear materials to the likes of Japan, Europe and US – and now it will be involved in testing the SGS FastRig wingsails.

Di Gilpin, SGS CEO, said: ‘To have the opportunity to work with such a highly specialist ship and her deeply knowledgeable crew and managers gives us an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the feasibility of retrofitting SGS FastRig wingsails onto ships with the highest safety standards. If we are successful this will give comfort to shipowners and managers that this technology will not compromise their strict safety protocols.

‘Testing the FastRig on land initially ensures we iron out any technical glitches before installing on a working vessel. We are honoured to be able to work with NTS. Our commercial project partners, Drax and MOL Dry Bulk are working with SGS and NTS to define parameters for sea trials; our technical team includes Humphreys Yacht Design, designers of the FastRig; Caley Ocean Systems and Malin Group, FastRig manufacturers and Houlder who take responsibility for the ship to wing interface. The University of Southampton is working with SGS on verifying real world performance results against the mathematical modelling that predicted between 16% and 27% fuel/GHG savings over an annual period.’

Andy Milling, Marine Manager at NTS, added: ‘As owners of UK-flagged, high-quality specialist vessels, we are committed to support UK shipping net zero initiatives. We are looking forward to working with SGS to address the highly complex technical challenges that arise from retrofitting wind-assist technology onto merchant vessels.

‘Our motivation is to reduce vessel emissions whilst maintaining our high performance and critical delivery schedules. SGS has convened a group of highly experienced technical and commercial organisations to deliver the project and its exciting to see how we will implement this technology with safety, security and reliability remaining our top priorities.’

The ‘Winds of Change’ project will run through to March 2025. SGS is currently installing a land-based test and demonstration FastRig at Hunterston Parc in Scotland, in preparation for the on-ship installation scheduled for 2024.The project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 3 (CMDC3), which was announced in September 2022, funded by the UK Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with InnovateUK. As part of the CMDC3, the Department allocated £60 million to 19 flagship projects supported by 92 UK organisations to deliver ‘real world’ demonstration R&D projects in clean maritime solutions. Projects will take place in multiple locations around the UK.

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