Introducing Oceanbird – the wind powered cargo vessel

Oceanbird was recently presented and received worldwide attention. Together, Wallenius Marine, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and SSPA contribute with considerable resources and expertise to create new knowledge and understandings of vessel design incorporating wind propulsion. The research project is called wPCC (wind Powered Car Carrier), and in September 2020 the collaboration presented the concept Oceanbird. Wallenius Marine, owns the concept and SSPA and KTH are research partners.

To revert climate change and find ways to transport goods in a sustainable way, the global shipping community needs to shift away from fossil fuel to renewable energy. Oceanbird shows that the maritime industry can bring about major change and that zero-emission shipping is possible, using wind as the main energy source. The sailing cargo vessel Oceanbird will leave 90 percent less emissions than today’s vessels. The project proves that cooperation between industry and academia can lead to significant innovations. Progress takes place in small steps as well as great leaps. Oceanbird is progress by small steps forward in existing knowledge and technology, but also a great leap forward regarding how ideas and know-how from different areas can enrich one another. The result is a technology shift that shows how an entire industry can readjust to sustainable transports. 

- “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. Together we are stronger!”, says Vendela Santén, Senior Researcher & Project Manager at SSPA. 

Wallenius Marine, which is the project coordinator, owns the concept and is also contributing design and logistics expertise. KTH is addressing the challenges within areas such as aerodynamics, sailing mechanics and performance analysis. SSPA is contributing with expertise within the development and validation of new testing methods, aerodynamic and hydrodynamic simulation methods. risk simulations and logistics analysis. This expertise will eventually be used to develop sailing vessels in other vessel segments.

- “SSPA will continue our extensive research and development of methods. The next step is advanced tests in the Maritime Dynamics Laboratory, a facility for assessment of seakeeping and manoeuvring behaviour of ships”, says, Sofia Werner, Senior Researcher & Manager Strategic Research Hydrodynamics at SSPA.

Facts about Oceanbird

  • 7,000 cars can be carried in the cargo hold
  • 90% lower emissions than a vessel with a diesel engine
  • 5 rigs with 80 metres tall wing sails for forward propulsion
  • 12 days to cross the Atlantic with the wind as energy source

Learn more about Oceanbird and see the webcast from September 10, at Oceanbirdwallenius.com


Innovative Swedish technology will make it possible to power the largest ocean-going vessels by wind, reducing emissions by 90 percent. Illustration: Wallenius Marine