STX France has launched a carbon-free cruise design that uses wind as its main source of power – a design that is first of its kind. And the wind technology solution will be trialled on a Ponant cruise ship.
STX France Vice President of projects Stéphane Cordier told Passenger Ship Technology: “This is something that nobody has done before. The message is that we are doing as much as we can not to use any fuel in the cruise ship.”
When explaining why wind was chosen as the main source of power, Cordier said: “The main idea is to go to carbon-free cruising, for which there are many different alternatives. We see that hydrogen and fuel cells are very expensive and hydrogen is not readily available everywhere and can be very cumbersome to contain.” Whereas he pointed out that wind was available and free everywhere.
STX France decided on using sails to draw on the source of wind power and the yard created the technology to be used with the sails (Solid Sail). The sails are mounted on masts, with a benefit being that the “interference between the sail and the ship is minimized to the foot of the mast,” as there are no cables or ropes. There are three masts and three rigs. The masts rotate to adapt the sails to the wind.
Cordier explained an area of more than 1,000 m2 of sails was needed to get the wind power required.
STX France advocates using a hybrid propulsion system, combining wind as the main source of power with options such as LNG, and in time, potentially using fuel cells. The ship can travel 12 knots in 15 knots of wind and if there are more than 15 knots of wind then the propellers can be used to make power for the shipload.
“The system is reversed so the propeller acts as a turbine to draw power from the sails,” Cordier said.