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Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has decided to install the Wind Challenger hard sail wind propulsion system on coal carrier Kurotakisan Maru III.

According to MOL, this is the first time in the world that the Wind Challenger will be installed on an in-service vessel. The company signed an agreement with compatriot Electric Power Development, operating under the name J-Power, to install the wind propulsion system on a ship that transports steaming coal to J-Power’s power stations.

Kurotakisan Maru III has a length of 235 meters, a breadth of 38 meters, and 90,000 deadweight tons. It was delivered to the shipowner by Oshima Shipbuilding in December 2021.

The installation of the Wind Challenger onboard the coal carrier is scheduled for the second half of 2025.

The introduction of the Wind Challenger is expected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 5% on a Japan-Australia voyage and about 8% on a Japan-North America West Coast voyage, compared to a conventional vessel of the same type, thus contributing to reduced GHG emissions during fuel transportation, according to MOL.

The Wind Challenger is a device developed by MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding, which converts wind energy to propulsive force using telescoping hard sails. This is MOL’s second Wind Challenger-equipped coal carrier, following Shofu Maru for Tohoku Electric Power Co.

Recently, MOL revealed that Shofu Maru achieved daily fuel savings by up to 17% and by 5 to 8% per voyage on average with Wind Challenger.


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