Int'l - Michelin Unfurls its Design for Inflatable Wing Sails

Sharing its vision for sustainable mobility for the future at the 2021 Movin’On global sustainable mobility summit, France’s Michelin Group, best known for its innovations in tires, unveiled its concepts for an inflatable wing sail that will provide wind propulsion both for commercial shipping and the pleasure craft industry.

Sharing its vision for sustainable mobility for the future at the 2021 Movin’On global sustainable mobility summit, France’s Michelin Group, best known for its innovations in tires, unveiled its concepts for an inflatable wing sail that will provide wind propulsion both for commercial shipping and the pleasure craft industry. The company expects the first ships to be fitted with the sail concept in 2022.

Known as WISAMO, the Wing Sail Mobility project, seeks to build on the growing interest in wind and wind-assisted propulsion to help decarbonize the maritime industry. WISAMO is an automated, telescopic, inflatable wing sail system. Michelin says the first installation will be on a merchant ship in 2022 when Michelin expects the sail to go into production following the completion of a trial phase.

The inflatable wing sail harnesses the wind as a source of propulsion. According to the designers, its revolutionary design enables a ship to reduce its fuel consumption and thereby have a positive impact on the environment by lowering CO2 emissions. Depending on the type of vessel, route, and weather conditions, Michelin says the system can improve a ship’s fuel efficiency by up to 20 percent.

Designed and developed by the WISAMO project team, the system is installable on most merchant ships and pleasure craft. They said that it is especially suitable for ro-ro ships, bulk carriers, and oil and gas tankers. The concept has been developed so that it can be fitted as original equipment on newbuilds or retrofitted on in-service vessels.

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