MOL Expands Wind Propulsion Fleet to Boost Green Shipping Initiatives

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. has announced a significant expansion of its wind propulsion capabilities. The companies plan to install wind propulsion systems, including the innovative Wind Challenger, on seven new bulk carriers and multi-purpose vessels operated by MOL Drybulk. This decision follows the successful performance of the Wind Challenger on the vessel Shofu Maru, which demonstrated a reduction in daily fuel consumption by up to 17%.

MOL Group’s fleet will now include a total of 11 vessels equipped with wind propulsion systems, with nine of these featuring the Wind Challenger. The seven new vessels comprise six bulk carriers, each outfitted with one Wind Challenger sail. Contracts have been signed with Oshima Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. for three of these vessels, with preparations underway for the remaining three. Additionally, one new multipurpose vessel will be equipped with two Ventfoils, a foldable and autonomous wind-assisted propulsion system manufactured by EconoWind B.V., scheduled for delivery in 2025.

Breakdown of 7 vessels to be equipped with wind propulsion systems:

Ship typeNo. of
Wind-assisted propulsion system
to be installed
GHG reduction rate
(annual average)
StatusScheduled delivery
Bulk carrier31 Wind Challenger per vessel
(+ installation of multiple rotor sails is under consideration)
About 7%-16%/vessel depending on route, conditions, etc.
(about 15%-28% when 3 rotor sails are used together)
April 5, 2024
Construction contract has been signed
2nd half of 2026 – 1st half of 2027
Bulk carrier31 Wind Challenger per vesselAbout 7%-16%/vessel depending on routes, conditions, etc.Construction contract negotiations underway2027 – 2028
Multi-purpose vessel12 Ventfoils per vesselAbout 2% per vesselOctober 2024
Charter contract to be signed
January 2025

This initiative is a part of MOL Group’s “Environmental Vision 2.2,” which aims for net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. Key strategies include the introduction of clean energy and further energy-saving technologies. MOL plans to have 25 vessels equipped with the Wind Challenger by 2030 and 80 by 2035, contributing to the reduction of GHG emissions both within the company and across society.

The Wind Challenger, developed by MOL and Oshima Shipbuilding, utilizes telescoping hard sails to convert wind energy into propulsive force. Expected annual reductions in fuel consumption and GHG emissions for the six vessels equipped with the Wind Challenger are estimated to be between 7-16%. Further reductions, averaging 15-28% per year, are anticipated with the combined use of the Wind Challenger and the Rotor Sail system, produced by Anemoi Marine Technologies.

The Ventfoil system enhances propulsion by adjusting sail direction and utilizing an internal air intake system to amplify thrust, making it an effective solution for multipurpose vessels transporting diverse cargoes.

MOL Group’s commitment to environmental sustainability is evident in their proactive approach to integrating advanced wind propulsion technologies. Through these efforts, the company aims to lead the maritime industry toward a greener future.

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