European Union _ SNN

VentoFoil XL sustainable wind propulsion for sea-going vessels

The ‘VentoFoil XL sustainable wind propulsion for sea-going vessels’ project is co-funded by the European Union and stems from the major development opportunities recognized in the ‘Green & Digital Maritime Innovation Ecosystem North Netherlands’ (GDMIEN-NL) project.

This project further develops the VentoFoil technology for wind propulsion on ships. This ‘vertical aircraft wing with boundary layer suction’ converts wind power directly into thrust for ships. In doing so, it reduces dependence on fossil fuels and reduces the environmental impact for ocean-going vessels. The VentiFoils can be folded in order to reduce windage in headwinds and stormy conditions, while this feature also facilitates easy cargo handling.

The project involves scaling up from a small model to a new larger version for use on ocean-going vessels. A prototype of the 30m VentoFoil XL will be developed, built, tested and demonstrated at sea. In the process, a fully digital control system based on AI technology will be developed and tested.

Project activities

The activities of the project VenfoFoil XL are divided into five work packages (WPs).

WP1: Development of  Digital Model of VentoFoil XL

  • Design of geometry, construction, systems, control and automation
  • Risk analysis and HAZID (regarding construction, testing, positioning and operation on a vessel)
  • Development of Digital Model and analysis and simulations of dynamic behaviour and performance

WP2: Building 30m prototype VentoFoil XL

  • Preparation of production at Bijlsma Wartena
  • Purchase components and materials
  • Building of 30m prototype VentoFoil XL and foldingsystem
  • Installation of electronics and automation

WP3 Testing VentoFoil XL + evaluating Digital Twin

  • Wind tunnel tests 5m model at DNW, German Dutch Wind Tunnel in Marknesse
  • Develop and build test foundation + install it
  • FAT at Bijlsma and Functional tests 30m VentoFoil XL on land in Harlingen with Maritime Institute Willem Barendsz (MIWB, part of NHL-Stenden, HBO Knowledge Centre)
  • 1st operational tests + safety tests with MIWB
  • Performance tests & measurements MIWB + optimisation of digital control

WP4 Demonstration VentoFoil XL on board seagoing vessel

  • Develop and build onboard foundation, integration with ship structure
  • Installation of VentoFoil XL on board vessel of Boomsma Shipping
  • Demonstration voyages measuring performance and emission reduction of the ship under variations in wind strengths
  • Endurance tests with Boomsma ship over the 4 seasons, including wind routing in various sailing areas with MIWB student officers + analysis of measurement data transmitted ashore
  • Analysis of measurement data in relation to Digital Twin, evaluation of results and determination of average emission reduction of CO₂ and NOₓ.

WP5 Projectmanagement

Project partners

Partners in this project derive from the value-chain for Windpropulsion of the GDMIEN-NL project which are: Econowind B.V., Conoship International B.V., Hofmeister Custom Products B.V., Bijlsma Marine Services B.V., Bijlsma Wartena B.V., T. Bijlsma Grouw Beheer B.V., Boomsma Shipping B.V., Boomsma Crewing B.V., Global Electrical Solutions B.V., NHL Stenden Hogeschool and Stichting DNW.

This consortium includes parties from the Northern Netherlands Maritime Innovation Ecosystem, from the complete value chain from ship design and production to a ship owner/end-user of the ships, complemented by an upcoming global player in the development and realisation of Windpropulsion.

It thus combines experience and knowledge of innovative ‘green’ propulsion technology, with knowledge of integration into ship (design) and on-board systems and ship operations. The companies are supported by a combination of knowledge institutes from the maritime sector and aeronautics/aerodynamics:

  • the Maritime Institute Willem Barendsz (MIWB, part of NHL-Stenden) with naval officer training and Lectureship Maritime Innovative Techniques, developing a Northern Netherlands Knowledge Centre Wind Propulsion
  • the German Dutch Wind Tunnel (DNW, with National Aerospace Centre NLR as parent) with specific knowledge and capabilities for testing boundary layer suction at low air speeds on large models.

Econowind and Conoship have jointly developed the specific knowledge on VentiFoils with support from TU Delft and MARIN (Maritime Research Institute for Naval Propulsion in Wageningen a world leader in this field. In this project, this unique Northern Netherlands consortium of SMEs thus valorizes knowledge from the maritime and aerodynamic Dutch Top Institutes. It thus aims to become distinctive in the region, and also from Northern Netherlands to become a distinctive world player in ‘green’ innovative ship propulsion.