Chantiers de l’Atlantique’s solid sail project gains momentum

2021-02-26T21:09:08+00:00 February 26th, 2021|Technology|

French cruise ship builder Chantiers de l’Atlantique is to install a model of a Solid Sail/AeolDrive at the shipyard.

This is the French yard’s solution for sailing propulsion adapted for large ships.

This announcement was made during an e-event broadcast live from ‘MSC Virtuosa’ handing over ceremony at Saint-Nazaire last week.

The mock-up will consist of the highest composite masts in the world, being 95 m above the ground when they are installed next year.

The centrepiece, the AeolDrive – a mast tiltable through 70 deg – will support the Solid Sail, a 1,200 sq m sail made of composite materials, both for high-performance and foldable.

This installation will be split into two phases. The first – a 38 m high mast and a sail of 550 sq m will be erected during the Autumn of this year, while the second a year later on a 1:1 scale.

Similar to the previous prototype on a 1:5 scale – which has been under test for two years at a pier at Pornichet harbour – the system will be combined with a balestron able to rotate through 360 deg.

Force and position sensors will enable its aerodynamic and kinematic performances to be evaluated while monitoring the stress levels in the mechanical elements.

It will be the first step of the technical validation necessary prior to the Solid Sail/AeolDrive solution’s commercialisation and fitting on large ships.

This solution was developed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique under an R&D programme – Ecorizon- started in 2008 to enhance a large ship’s energy effectiveness and environmental impact.

The shipyard aims to develop zero-emission ships before 2050.

A commercial application is to be fitted onto a 200 m long cruise ship design. These ships will use both sail propulsion and engines, thus reducing greenhouse gas emission by more than 50 %.

This initiative was developed in co-operation between Chantiers de l’Atlantique and its industrial partners. The partners are from Brittany (Multiplast, AvelRobotics, SMM Technologies, CDK Technologies, Lorima, G SEA Design, Blew Stoub, Ocean Data System, Pixel Sur Mer and Awentech) for the mast and the sail, and from Pays de la Loire (MECA, Wichard, Nov-BLM, Lancelin, Baudin Chateauneuf and PL Marine) for the fitting equipment.

“A collective dynamic has been established around the Solid Sail /AeolDrive project, thanks to the mobilisation of many regional players. It is based on companies with a solid and renowned reputation which now want to explore a new and promising market.” said Laurent Castaing, Chantiers de l’Atlantique General Manager.

“We are going to maintain this momentum so that we can move up a gear when, after the final phase of testing, we can move on to the marketing of a solution adapted to the current and future challenges of an even more environmentally friendly navigation system.”

Solid Sail/AeolDrive also received support from the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and from the PIA (Programme d’Investissement d’Avenir – Investment Program for the Future) operated by ADEME, the French Energy Management Agency, as well as funds from the 2020 European Research and Innovation Programme (LeanShips project).

From a scientific and academic viewpoint, the project was led in association with the TRI Jules Vernes, the ENSTA Bretagne (Grande École of engineering) and the Catholic Institute of Arts and Crafts of the West Coast.