Energy transition project awarded more than €9m to reduce emissions

A new energy transition project, known as WHISPER, has been awarded €9.2m in funding from Horizon Europe for a four-year innovation project.

The goal of this project is to develop a solution that can significantly reduce emissions from the long-distance maritime industry, which is responsible for around 2.5% of the world’s total CO2 emissions.

The energy transition project aims to demonstrate around 30% fuel savings on a retrofit bulk carrier and more than 15% on a retrofit containership.

What will the WHISPER project consist of?

A range of strong and diverse experts from across Europe will work to develop a fully modular retrofit solution, consisting of a wind-solar powered system to significantly reduce auxiliary engine emissions and a tilting wing sail system to provide wind-assisted propulsion.

These innovations are being developed to help reduce main engine fuel consumption and emissions.

Marc Van Peteghem, chairman and co-founder of AYRO said: “In the current context of fuel price volatility and the increasingly stringent environmental regulations with the implementation of the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) this year for the maritime industry, we see the WHISPER project as a catalyst for retrofitting the commercial vessels with breakthrough green technologies.

“The WHISPER energy transition project will enable AYRO to launch its first tiltable Oceanwings, addressing new segments such as the bulk carriers. We are proud and thrilled to be involved in this ambitious project with key maritime stakeholders, including other wind and solar technology suppliers.”

Collaboration between leading companies will be vital to the project’s success

María Kristín Prastardóttir, co-founder of Sidewind, stated: “We have high hopes for this energy transition collaboration and truly believe that the project can be an effective tool in the fight against climate change. By combining and developing three innovative wind and solar technologies, and creating a modular, retrofit solution, we can lower the emissions of container and tank ships by 15-30%.

“If successful and widely adopted, WHISPER could reduce the emissions of the long-distance maritime transport industry by what equals the emissions of entire countries.”

Luca Bonci, CEO of Solbian, added: “Solbian is firmly committed to spreading the utilisation of solar energy on cargo ships. After years of experience in creating solar solutions for any kind of vessel, from small sailboats to ferries, we trust that joining forces between companies active in renewables (solar and wind) and marine experts will now give a strong impulse to the adoption of clean energy sources in maritime transport, for a better future.”

Finally, Kjartan Due Nielsen, Innovation Manager of Verkís said: “Verkís is proud to have been chosen to coordinate this highly relevant, innovative project. It aligns with our focus on energy transition, sustainability and innovation and builds on our expertise from sustainable energy projects. Verkís will also contribute to the overall technical system design, LCA and aerodynamic simulations and we are certain that with our partners in the project, it will bring successful and impactful results.

“Energy transition of the maritime industry is complex, and WHISPER could be a game-changing solution for this sector.”

The complex application process was led by Inspiralia, a vital component in guiding the partners to fulfil all requirements for full participation in an EU project of this size. The WHISPER project is comprised of 14 partners: Verkis (project lead), Sidewind, AYRO, Solbian, CANOE, Ant Topic, Dotcom, Samskip, Nav-Tech, Stirling Design International, BBA/Fjeldco, Lloyds Register, Athygli, and Inspiralia GmbH.

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