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Monday, July 5, 2021 

Marine technology consultant Cape Horn Engineering has become involved with the design of the first EcoClipper ship, which aims to apply renewable energy to help reduce global emissions for greener shipping.

Concentrating on the traditional principles of harnessing the power of wind for ship propulsion, the EcoClipper ship will offer emission-free sustainable transportation for cargo, passengers and trainees. Dutch based company, EcoClipper, was founded in 2018 by Jorne Langelaan, sail cargo expert and co-founder of shipping company Fairtransport. The new EcoClipper fleet of ships will sail on four shipping lines with fixed schedules, thereby creating a new shipping logistics system for sail cargo vessels. 

The EcoClipper500 will be built in steel with modern construction techniques, based on the design of the successful Dutch clipper Noach, launched in 1857. Whilst the original ship was stated as the fastest Dutch sailing vessel ever built, Langelaan wanted to test different hull shapes, to ensure the best performance for the sail cargo ship.

He said: “The historic records of Fop Smit’s Noach are extensive. As the design of the ship was built around cargo carrying capabilities and passenger comfort. With Cape Horn Engineering’s expertise, we are able to fine-tune the ship to make sure it can sail as fast as possible, whilst retaining these necessities.”

Cape Horn Engineering specialises in CFD and related marine technology solutions. The company employs high-fidelity RANS based simulation techniques where accurate forces and moments are obtained for the given shape candidates and operating conditions. Cape Horn Engineering was chosen by EcoClipper as a partner company to provide expert CFD analysis for the design of the hull shape. CFD simulations for four different candidate hulls were performed and compared under different sailing conditions.

With such a complex sail plan, consisting of three square rigged masts, maximum of 29 sails (including stunsails) and the maximum sail area being around 1580m2, the generation of a full aerodynamic model was out of the scope of the project. Therefore, sail coefficients for similar sailing vessels had to be used, to give a relationship between the driving force, side force and heeling moment, to enable accurate calculations to be made for the hydrodynamic performance of the hull candidates. 

Another detailed investigation was aimed at finding the best possible position to install the hydro-generators that will provide the electricity requirements of the vessel.

Rodrigo Azcueta, CEO of Cape Horn Engineering, said: ‘’We are delighted to be involved in this innovative project. We are dedicated to reducing shipping emissions and improving air pollution, and we have a strong desire to contribute to such developments, to help protect our planet. Our investment in researching new technologies is a strong commitment, as we firmly believe the future needs to rely on sustainable energy sources’’.

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