Known for its tires and evaluation in delicacies, Michelin will now be marching towards maritime businesses, and will be assisting the shipping industry to achieve a target of 50% reduction in green houses gases. The latest sustainable Wing Sail Mobility (WISAMO) project revealed by Michelin will reportedly use wind energy to help improve a ship’s fuel efficiency by 20%.
The new sail system WISAMO co-developed by Michelin R&D and Swiss inventors looks like white and plump wings on ships from afar, and its sole purpose is to provide a clean power source that is free and can be used instantaneously, instead of replacing the traditional ship engines. That power source is wind energy.
According to the official information, WISAMO is an automated, retractable, and inflatable sail system that can be installed on various commercial ships and yachts. Unlike the installation of traditional sails which requires a certain degree of professional knowledge and training, the automated system can adjust the sails to the optimal location based on the wind conditions with a simple press of a button.
WISAMO uses an air compressor and retractable masts to construct an extensive inflated sail on the ship, and transforms the wind into the thrust power for the ship through the inflated sail. The sail can be folded like an accordion into the deck during stormy weather. Michelin pointed out that WISAMO can be used individually or in a combination of multiple units, and is dedicated in reducing 10-20% of fuel consumption.
As pointed out by Michelin, this distinctive sail is advantageous in sailing against the wind, and facilitates normal sailing during storms. The inflated sail effectively absorbs energy, and can be rapidly stowed away when the weather is unsatisfactory, with its advantages exerted when entering ports and passing bridges. Michelin also pointed that the sail system can be directly installed on ships, such as roll on/roll off ships, bulk cargo ships, tankers, and even small yachts.
Michelin also believes that the integration of this large and baffle-equipped sail with the short and chubby Bibendum is not a bad idea as it can serve as a highly visible Michelin advertisement.
Michelin introduced the WISAMO project at the Movin’ On Summit in June, and has created 100 m2 of inflated sails, which will be tested under the help of sailing expert Michael Desjoyeaux, with testing on commercial ships expected to unfold in 2022.
(Cover photo source: Michelin)