Airseas, an Airbus’ spin-off, announces a 20-year agreement with the giant shipowner Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. (“K” Line) to install and service one ship with a Seawing, an automated kite based on parafoil technology. The Seawing will be used to tow commercial ships and reduce CO2 emissions by 20% through wind propulsion. Following an initial test on one vessel, “K” Line will acquire up to 50 Seawings.
“Seawing represents a breakthrough for our industry and for the environment. “K”LINE has always been committed to demonstrating that shipowners are prioritising technology to improve ship efficiency and to solve the core issue of maritime emissions. By utilising aeronautical competences, Seawing reduces the environmental footprint of Capesize ships by 5,200 tons of CO2 per year depending on the vessel voyage route. This will contribute to achieving our goal to reduce CO2 emissions by half in the “K” Line Environmental Vision 2050,” said Mr. Misaki, Managing Executive Officer of “K” Line.
Airseas launched the development of Seawing in 2016, tested its prototype at sea at the end of 2017 and will deliver its 500 square metre Seawing by the end of 2020 onto Airbus’ 150 metre long ro-ro ship operating between Saint-Nazaire, France, and Mobile, Alabama, US. Thanks to “K” Line, Airseas extends its reach even further into the merchant marine sector. The Japanese shipowner will install the first new 1,000 sqm Seawing in 2021, and this will kick-start the Airbus spin-off’s industrial ramp-up, with the final goal of reaching hundreds of deliveries per year from 2025.
This contract confirms the involvement of Airbus to make greener transportation a reality not only in the aerospace sector, but for all transportation methods. Airseas is the perfect example of how the aircraft manufacturer applies its aeronautical know-how to other sectors, the maritime sector in this case, in an innovative and agile way. In addition to contributing to develop environment-friendly initiatives, Airbus will also be an active stakeholder in depollution. Indeed, the company will install the Seawing on its own fleet of transport ships in order to reduce their environmental footprint.