New Funding Bolsters Confidence In FastRig Development

Smart Green Shipping’s (SGS) ‘Winds of Change’ project to develop its ground-breaking FastRig technology has been selected as one of the recipients of £60 million in funding from the third round of the UK Government’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC3). The funds will be used to develop a new UK-designed-and-built wing sail, a 20-metre high ‘FastRig’ installed on board a vessel, bringing the maritime industry closer to efficiently harnessing wind power for propulsion.

This latest funding displays growing support for the FastRigs technology, which recently secured a £1.35 million investment from MOL Drybulk Ltd (MOLDB) and Scottish Enterprise, building on the £1.8million grant from Scottish Enterprise last year with £3.2million match-funded by the private sector.

“I’m thrilled that the UK is demonstrating ongoing faith in our FastRig technology, which holds the key to rapidly reducing emissions from shipping,” says SGS CEO, Diane Gilpin. “Climate science is clear that shipping must rapidly reduce emissions in the short term. Wind power, harnessed using sophisticated digital software and well-engineered equipment, is at present the fastest way for the sector to reduce fuel consumption and related emissions.”

Smart Green Shipping
Source: Smart Green Shipping

The CMDC3 was announced in September 2022, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK. As part of the CMDC3, the Department allocated £60m to 19 flagship projects supported by 92 UK organisations to deliver real world demonstration R&D projects in clean maritime solutions. Projects will take place in multiple locations around the UK from as far north as the Shetland Isles and as far south as Cornwall.

The CMDC3 is part of the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions’ (UK SHORE) flagship multi-year CMDC programme. In March 2022, the Department announced the biggest government investment ever in our UK commercial maritime sector, allocating £206m to UK SHORE, a new division within the Department for Transport focused on decarbonising the maritime sector. UK SHORE is delivering a suite of interventions throughout 2022-2025 aimed at accelerating the design, manufacture and operation of UK-made clean maritime technologies and unlocking an industry-led transition to Net Zero.

FastRig is an innovative retractable, recyclable rigid wing sail designed to be easily retrofitted to existing commercial vessels with available deck space. Department for Transport analysis calculates that more than 40,000 vessels – particularly bulkers and tankers – are currently suitable for installations of wind technologies such as FastRig. Fuel and GHG emissions savings verified during an earlier InnovateUK funded feasibility study point to a minimum of 20% reduction per annum in emissions through use of the FastRig technology and TradeWind smart analysis tool.

“Collaboration is essential for new technology to accelerate at the speed we need to address climate change, which is why we are developing FastRig together with a group of industry experts from all areas of the shipping ecosystem, bringing exemplary, world-leading design, engineering, commercial and ship operating knowledge to the table.” Gilpin continues, “Our Winds of Change project is being delivered with The University of Southampton, and project partners include Humphreys Yacht DesignHoulderMalin GroupCaley Ocean SystemsArgo EngineeringLloyd’s RegisterMOL DryBulk (part of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines) and Drax.”

“We are currently rigorously testing our equipment and software on land, ahead of the ship installation, to give users confidence in the safety, performance and economics of 21st century wind-assist technology,” Gilpin says.

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