Wind-Powered Car Carrier

First model tests of the wind Powered Car Carrier

Recently, the research project wPCC (wind Powered Car Carrier) entered a new phase when the new concept was tested at SSPA. The project aims to develop a sailing vessel that can transport 7,000 cars across the Atlantic, resulting in a reduction of energy consumption by approximately 90 percent. Designing and testing sailing cargo ships requires completely new calculation tools to be developed. The model tests were performed in SSPA’s Towing Tank to validate the computations. The results will be used to optimize the design of the rig, hull and appendages. The research project is led by Wallenius Marine, with the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and SSPA as partners.

SSPA has a long experience of optimizing conventional cargo vessels. Our experts are using model tests, CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), the simulation tool SEAMAN, and not the least many years of experience and a database with more than 8,000 ship hull forms. Sailing vessels differ from conventional vessels in many ways, and as part of the research project new simulation tools are developed, for example to model how the forces and moments from the wing sail affect the vessel. This is solved by performing numerical flow calculations, CFD. Upwind sailing with tacking, i.e. when sailing vessels cannot keep a straight course towards the target, also needed to be implemented. CFD is also used to investigate which hull appendage that can be effective for such a vessel. 

The results from the advanced calculations and computer tests must then be validated and therefore physical model tests was performed in SSPA´s Towing Tank. Model testing is an important tool in the process of developing ships and assessing their performance and without the model tests, the risk is that the project will sub-optimize the design in some respects.

- “We may think that we achieve maximum speed with a certain height on the rig, but then notice when sailing that we must compensate too much with the rudder because the side forces are too large. Then we have not reached an optimum”, says Sofia Werner, Senior Researcher & Manager Strategic Research Hydrodynamics at SSPA.

In the research project, SSPA’s experts will continue to contribute with extensive research, for example regarding unconventional experimental methods, aerodynamic and hydrodynamic simulation methods, risk- and logistics analysis.

- “The research project is a great opportunity for SSPA to make use of our expertise in a new setting. In close collaboration with Wallenius Marine and KTH we are creating a Swedish competence cluster of wind-powered vessel development and design”, says Vendela Santén, Senior Researcher & Project Manager at SSPA.