The Oceanbird concept

Wing-sail technology able to reduce emissions with up to 90%

What is

The Oceanbird concept?

Oceanbird is about revolutionizing technology that will put an end to the era of fossil-driven cargo ships in maritime transport. Even though the main energy force comes from wind, the Oceanbird wing riggs have more in common with airplane wings than traditional sails. Therefore, aerodynamics are important in developing the concept.

The complete Oceanbird concept includes wing rigs, as well as a special designed hull and recommendations regarding speed and routes. Extensive simulations and model testing at sea and in water tanks, have proven that it is possible to reduce emissions from a vessel with 90%. Even vessels that don’t use the complete concept, will have a significant reduction.

How will

The vessels from the concept look?

The Oceanbird concept is based on a car-carrier able to transport around 7,000 cars. When sailing in an average speed of 10 knots, it will take 12 instead of 8 days to cross the Atlantic.

The wing rigs are adapted to a 200 metres long and 40 metres wide cargo vessel. You will be able to reduce the height of the wings, which  comes in handy when passing under bridges or if the surface area needs to be reduced due to strong winds.

To be able to get in and out of harbours – and as a safety measure and to be able to keep schedule – the vessel will also be equipped with an auxiliary engine, powered by the best alternative available today.

The aim is to sail the first Oceanbird vessel in 2025, and so far it looks promising.

Why do

We need to move an industry?

Shipping is an energy-efficient way of transporting goods. Despite this, shipping needs to become more sustainable. Maritime transport emits around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually and is responsible for about 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, even more than airplanes If the industry was a country, it would be the sixth biggest polluter, above Germany.

These emissions are projected to increase significantly if mitigation measures are not put in place swiftly. If we continue business-as-usual, the emissions will increase with 50%-250% by 2050, according to International Maritime Organisation (IMO). IMO has set a goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 40 percent per transport work from international shipping by 2030 compared to 2008. Oceanbird want to take de-carbonisation one step further, contributing to changing, updating, and remodeling an entire industry.

Cuts air and sound pollution

Besides from reducing air emissions, Oceanbird will also decrease sound pollution in the water. The Oceanbird vessels would be far quieter in the water, since it will be no sounds from generators or engines but propeller cavitation. This will mean a lot for whales and other marine mammals which depend on hearing for navigation, reproduction and finding food.

Wind is back

The wind helped us discover our planet – now it can help us preserve it.

Thousands of years have passed since we learnt to harness the wind so that ocean-going vessels could travel faster and further. The introduction of diesel engines meant faster crossings – at the expense of the environment.

Innovative Swedish technology will make it possible to power the largest ocean-going vessels by wind, reducing emissions by 90 %. Sails are no longer the issue – this time the rigging has more in common with airplane wings to be efficient enough to carry heavy loads across the Atlantic.

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A sneak peek at the future

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A sense of urgency

The newly formed Oceanbird team will soon reveal the design of the first product line. “We have a very promising new wing design. We need…

Entering the next phase

Bringing wind propulsion technology to market! The new joint venture between Alfa Laval and Wallenius are finalized and ready to take Oceanbird from concept for…

Answers to common questions

What is Oceanbird?

Oceanbird is a concept for wind-powered vessels that are able reduce emissions from the vessels by up to 90 %.
The Oceanbird concept is a technically challenging project where the rigging and hull work together as a single unit to harness the wind in the most efficient way possible. It is a mix of aeronautic and shipbuilding technology. We can evaluate performance and safety using a combination of computer simulations and physical experiments.

The company is named after this revolutionary concept. AlfaWall Oceanbird will supply wing rigs for ocean-going ships, new buildings but also retro-fits. Depending on the ship type, size, speed, route etc the wing rigs will have the ability to generate the entire propulsion power for needed but it could also be used as a compliment to other propulsion systems.

What do you base 90% reduction on?

We have done, and are still doing, extensive simulations in the development project together with KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) and SSPA. The simulations shows that if an Oceanbird vessel has an average speed of 10 knots, we only need to use the engine 10 % of the time. Even if it will go a few knots faster, it will still have significantly reductions.
Read more in the blog post “Why we claim a 90% reduction of emissions”

What is the difference between wind assistance and wind propulsion?

In wind assistant solutions, the main energy force comes from an engine which is supported by wind. Wind propulsion means that the main force comes from wind, supported by an engine.

When will the first Oceanbird vessel sail?

Wallenius Wilhelmsen announced in February 2021, that they intend to order a vessel from the Oceanbird concept, which they will call Orcelle Wind. If everything goes according to plan, it will be sailing in 2025. So far, the project follows the time plan.

Read more in the blog post “Meet Orcelle Wind”.

Why will the first Oceanbird vessel be a car-carrier?

Modern cars with low or zero emission are important to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere. The car industry is making giant leaps in reducing its environmental footprint, and of course they are also looking at every part of its supply chain.

Why do you need an engine onboard?

An engine is necessary to maneuver in and out of port, for safety reasons and for unfavorable weather. However, we will use the best engine available from an environmental perspective.

How does the wing sails works?

The sails are made of a mixture of metal and composite and will be foldable. The details of the wing sail design are our primary focus right now, and we will share the next design solution during spring 2022.

Read more in the blog post “Let´s talk about the wings”.

Why did Alfa Laval and Wallenius start the company AlfaWall Oceanbird together?

Wallenius developed the Oceanbird concept in the wPCC project together with KTH and SSPA. Entering the next phase, Wallenius needed a partner for developing the wing sail system and being able to provide them to the market.

Wallenius and Alfa Laval have worked together before in developing PureBallast and shares the same values around sustainability and pioneering spirit.

Read more at About us.

Why take such a drastic step as aiming to reduce 90% of the emissions?

We cannot wait until the end of the century to phase out fossil fuels. We must create realistic alternatives, including the infrastructure for delivering and supporting them. Today there is new urgency. We share an environmental momentum and the determination to find immediate, workable solutions.

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