Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s PCTC readies for wing sail installation


Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s Tirranna will serve as a testbed for Oceanbird wind-assisted propulsion systems.

Oceanbird has installed the wing sail foundation on the Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s Pure Car and Truck Carrier (PCTC), Tirranna, during its regular drydocking at IMC Shipyard in Zhoushan, China.

The wing sail foundation, connecting the deck to the wing sail, was welded onto Tirranna’s deck as part of its scheduled 5-year docking process. The 2009-built ship has a length of 230 meters and a capacity of approximately 8,000 cars.

This marks a step forward in Oceanbird’s initiative to integrate wind-assisted propulsion systems on commercial vessels. The project includes trialing a single sail, modifying the hull, and conducting rigorous strength and stability tests.

The primary goal of this retrofit is to test and evaluate a full-sized Wind Propulsion Unit (WPU) at sea on a real vessel.

Oceanbird is concurrently developing two full-scale prototypes: one on land in Landskrona and another onboard Tirranna, each measuring 40 by 14 meters. These prototypes aim to optimize wind propulsion technology for future maritime operations.

The retrofitting process on Tirranna is part of the EU project Orcelle Horizon, which aims to support the building of the primary wind-powered vessel Orcelle Wind – the first vessel from the Oceanbird concept.

The EU project Orcelle Horizon IS supporting both the two prototypes and the building of Orcelle Wind.

Unlike TirrannaOrcelle Wind will be a new build optimized for wind as the main propulsion.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen and 10 project partners, among them Oceanbird, have secured a Horizon Europe funding totaling €9 million.

Oceanbird’s wing sail technology, a core element of its design, features a main sail and flap that optimize aerodynamic forces. The sail can be folded and tilted to enable passage under bridges and reduce power in challenging weather conditions. Despite being half the size of the initial model introduced in 2021, it retains comparable performance, ensuring a smaller environmental and deck footprint. The wing will be built from high-strength steel and glass fiber.

Oceanbird Wing 560

  • Height: 40 meters (131 feet)
  • Width: 14 meters (46 feet)
  • Total sail area: 560 m2 (6028 f2)
  • Weight: Approx 150 tons

“The installation went as planned. Overall, it was a successful operation. Since this is our first installation, we had a lot of valuable learnings” says Oceanbird´s Customer Project Manager Emil Kotz, who has just returned from the shipyard in China.

“We did as much preparations as possible to avoid unnecessary off-hire during the wing installation in port. Together with the crew from Wallenius Wilhelmsen and the shipyard, we managed to get everything done during the planned docking time.”

Besides welding the foundation on deck, the modifications on Tirranna also included steelwork to strengthen the vessel and cabling work to ensure the interface between the vessel and wing sail. The vessel will be equipped with a wing sail in Europe during the first quarter of 2025.

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