French wind propulsion developer Airseas has taken significant advances toward the industrialisation of its automated kite system Seawing with the successful confirmation of traction flights on Louis Dreyfus Armateurs’ roro
Ville de Bordeaux.
“Airseas has now demonstrated that the wind propulsion system is working as planned, providing its first tonnes of traction that will help reduce the ship’s fuel consumption and emissions,” the company said in a statement.
The ongoing sea trials are taking place during the vessel’s commercial operations between Europe and the US on charter with Airbus – Airseas’ minority shareholder and launch customer. The next phases of the sea trials will focus on testing dynamic flying, which allows the kite to maximise its traction power, as well as gathering performance data and fine-tuning the automated flight system.
Airseas said its plans to build a factory in Nantes in 2026 are well underway as the company looks to scale up to meet the demand for its kite system, which has also been backed by Japanese shipowner K Line, in a 20-year deal for up to 51 installations.
Vincent Bernatets, CEO and co-founder of Airseas, commented: “This latest milestone is a particularly important moment for the teams both on board and ashore, who have been working tirelessly to take this innovative system from concept to reality. Now we are moving forward with the renewed confidence that the Seawing works as planned, and we are excited to progress the trials and improve the kite’s performance in the coming weeks and months.”
Stéphanie Lesage, general counsel and corporate secretary at Airseas, added: “This major progress in wind propulsion for shipping demonstrates technology readiness at a crucial tipping point for maritime decarbonisation. With IMO and the EU both putting owners and charterers under greater pressure to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the time to act is now.”