Michelin will establish huge inflatable sails for cargo ships to save 20% fuel


Michelin will use innovative 17-meter retractable sails to reduce the flow rate of the diesel fuel of their ships by 20%.

One of the world’s largest tire manufacturers plans to equip all cargo ships with inflatable sails, descending and raising by the automated telescopic mast. Each sail consists of several dozen bonded hollow segments, at first glance similar to stitched piece of fabric. However, after a complete deployment, the system activates the air compressor that fills them from the inside.

In the patient condition, the area of each sail increases to 93 m2. Under the action of air fluctuations, they create lifting force, helping to promote a ship forward. During the weather or when passing under the bridge, the system automatically removes the sail.

Michelin tests have shown that the innovation will help the company’s fleet to reduce diesel consumption by 20%, in parallel reducing the emissions of harmful substances into the environment. For large vessels, this can mean daily savings of tens of tons of fuel.

Although the French company is the first, who will begin to use inflatable sails, this technology is patented by two Swiss inventors back in 2015. However, since that time Michelin has significantly improved their design and automated the control system.

The first modernized cargo ships of the company will enter the water of the Atlantic Ocean in September 2022.

Recall that in September last year, the Swedish Consortium WPCC also announced plans for the construction of a 200-meter transatlantic freight

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