During a meeting held in Geneva (Switzerland), SoftWing and Transmetal Industries initiated a collaboration aiming at demonstrating the value of flexible wings as a means of propulsion booster in the field of maritime transport.
Sea carriers are highly dependent on fossil fuels. The SoftWing technology could reduce this dependence and through this lead to substantial savings. Indeed, diminishing the speed of a ship by 1 or 2 knots already leads to significant fuel economy. The SoftWing technology can be applied as an automated means of propulsion booster, leading to a stable cruising speed and considerable fuel savings.
SoftWing and Transmetal Industries are currently elaborating a first project to assess the potential of Softwing on a ferry for passenger transport in the harbor of Toulon.
Currently Softwing flexible wings equip both a platform for high-tech competition and a series of racing trimarans for cruising:
- the Pi28 ” Gonet & Cie ” on the lake of Geneva : Pi28 is a boat foil developed by Hugues de Turckheim and Sebastian Schmidt. Its aim is to win various speed records on the lake of Geneva. This yacht was built in 2011 and was used to test two prototypes of the flexible wing Softwing. A third prototype, which includes a series of improvements studied in previous trials is navigating during the 2013 season: the results in terms of performance, manoeuvrability and reliability are extremely positive to date (see also next section).
- The T29s: a series of 29 foot racing trimarans are under construction in Sweden. The first unit is currently being equipped with a flexible wing conducted by SoftWing, while a second unit has a classic rig, which will allow comparative tests in Baltic Sea in the upcoming weeks.