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Wednesday, February 17, 2021 

Chantiers de l’Atlantique has announced the installation of a Solid Sail/AeolDrive, its solution for sailing propulsion adapted to large ships.

A sail is initially to be installed on the Chantiers de l'Atlantique site. The company says this will be one of the highest composite masts of the world, at 95m above ground. The centerpiece of the system, the AeolDrive – a mast tiltable through 70° – will support the Solid Sail, a 1,200m² sail made entirely of composite materials. A smaller model, with 38m mast and 550m2 sail, will first be installed for evaluation. A 1:5 scale prototype has been trialled for two years on a pier in Pornichet harbour. On the Chantiers test rigs, which will be able to rotate through 360°, a system of force and position sensors will enable the aerodynamic and kinematic performances of the assembly to be evaluated while monitoring the stress levels in the mechanical elements.

Following this full technical validation and commercialisation exercise, the copoanh will be ready to apply the Solid Sail/AeolDrive to large vessels, in line with its aim to develop true zero-emission ships by the 2050 deadline.

The shipyard envisages that the first commercial application for the Solid Sail/AeolDrive solution will be cruise ships of about 200m length, which will be equipped with engines and sail propulsion, enabling a 50% reduction in GHG emissions. Cargo vessel and superyacht systems are under consideration.

The Solid Sail/AeolDrive solution has been developed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique and its industrial partners, from Brittany (Multiplast, AvelRobotics, SMM Technologies, CDK Technologies, Lorima, G SEA Design, Blew Stoub, Ocean Data System, Pixel Sur Mer and Awentech) for the mast and the sail, and from Pays de la Loire (MECA, Wichard, Nov-BLM, Lancelin, Baudin Chateauneuf and PL Marine) for the fitting equipment. As well as regional support, the project has received funding from the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), the PIA (Programme d’Investissement d’Avenir – Investment Programme for the Future) operated by the French Energy Management Agency, and the 2020 European Research and Innovation Programme (LeanShips project).

"A collective dynamic has been established around the Solid Sail /AeolDrive project, thanks to the mobilisation of many regional players. It is based on companies with a solid and renowned reputation which now want to explore a new and promising market, " said Laurent Castaing, GM Chantiers de l'Atlantique. "We are going to maintain this momentum so that we can move up a gear when, after the final phase of testing, we can move on to the marketing of a solution adapted to the current and future challenges of an even more environmentally friendly navigation system.”

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