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Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha signs long-term wind propulsion deal with Airbus spin-off

Airbus spin-off company Airseas has announced a 20-year agreement with shipowner Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) to install and service one ship with a Seawing automated kite. Based on parafoil technology, Seawing will be used to tow commercial ships and reduce CO2 emissions by 20% through wind propulsion.

Following an initial test on one vessel, K Line will acquire up to 50 Seawings. “Seawing represents a breakthrough for our industry and for the environment,” said Akira Misaki, managing executive officer of K Line. “K Line has always been committed to demonstrating that shipowners are prioritizing technology to improve ship efficiency and to solve the core issue of maritime emissions.

“By utilizing aeronautical competences, Seawing reduces the environmental footprint of capesize ships by 5,200 tons of CO2 per year depending on the vessel voyage route,” continued Misaki. “This will contribute to achieving our goal of reducing CO2 emissions by half by 2050.”

Airseas commenced development of Seawing in 2016, tested a prototype at sea at the end of 2017, and will deliver a 500m2 Seawing by the end of 2020 to Airbus’ 150m-long ro-ro ship operating between Saint-Nazaire, France, and Mobile, Alabama, USA. K Line, meanwhile, will install the first new 1,000m2 Seawing in 2021, kick-starting the Airseas’ industrial ramp-up, with the final goal of reaching hundreds of deliveries per year from 2025.

- June 2019

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