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Co-funded under grant agreement number 101038256

Every year, 940 million tons of CO2 - about 13% of EU Green House Gas emissions and nearly 3% of the global worldwide emissions - are emitted from the shipping industry1.

We are facing an emergency, and we need to start decarbonizing shipping now. The SEAWING4BLUE project, co-funded by the European Union, aims to tackle this challenge by supporting the scaling up of the next break-through sustainable alternative to fossil energy in the shipping industry.

project challenges

90% of the products consumed by European citizens are transported by ship. The shipping sector generates 2.3 million jobs in Europe and contributes to €145 billion of the EU’s Gross Domestic Product. At the same time, the shipping sector is one of the most significant sources of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

The economic and environmental challenges for the shipping sector are huge: the European Commission by including the maritime sector in the EU ETS scheme strengthens the regulatory pressure. At the same time, the increase in fuel prices continues to impact shipowners, becoming, in this extremely low margin sector, a burden representing up to 50% of fleets’ annual operating costs.

In a context where alternative fuels will only be mature and in sufficient quantity within 10 years, with a very challenging carbon emissions balance from a full life cycle standpoint, this sector has to find out some solutions right away and some solutions based on renewable energies.

The Seawing, the innovative solution that we aim at further developing with the SEAWING4BLUE project, is one of the immediate available solutions which must be deployed massively to decarbonise right away the shipping sector.

Seawing deployed on Airbus vessel
Seawing footprint on a RoRo Foredeck

project main activities

The two-years SEAWING4BLUE project aims at finalizing the development of the product called “Seawing”, developed by the start-up Airseas, and fine-tuning the system to be ready for industrialisation and serial production, which is planned for 2024. The serial product, developed within SEAWING4BLUE, will be an integrated system composed of a 1000 square meters kite wing controlled by a pod, a deck structure including a 36 meters high mast to deploy the wing and a storage tank, and software technologies to control the flight automatically (digital twin technology) and to help the crew in routing the ship (ecorouting software).

The Seawing aims at maximising the power of the wind through the large wingspan of its structure, flying at a high altitude to capture a more stable wind- and through its figure of 8 dynamic flight, thus multiplying by 10 the power of the wind.

The advantages of the Seawing:

  • - Use of renewable energy, the wind which is an unlimited, abundant and free energy
  • - Independent from fossil fuel and not dependant on the price of fuel or alternative fuel.
  • - Possibility to retrofit existing ships with minimum deck space required and no technical stopover (48 hours to install).

System on deck with sunset view

first results

SEAWING4BLUE’s start coincided with the first complete Seawing system leaving the factory and being installed on the port of La Rochelle for final ground trials before its installation on the Airbus’ vessel.

The SEAWING4BLUE project is expected to generate 150 FTE and a portfolio of 12 patents registered worldwide by 2026 while saving 7 million of CO2 emissions per year.

1000 Seawings are expected to be delivered by 2030.

Working closely with other key stakeholders from wind propulsion and clusters dedicated to the shipping sector and the wind propulsion, the project will contribute to set up standards and regulation specific to wind propulsion as well as methods to measure the performance of wind propulsion.

project background

Airseas was founded in 2016 in Toulouse by two former Airbus engineers. Since then, the company has moved to Nantes, France, to be based in a industrial and dynamic region, close to aeronautics, maritime and offshore leading actors.

Behind the SEAWING4BLUE project :

Our CEO & Co-Founder, Vincent Bernatets

“Given the urgency of the climate crisis, the world needs to see a drastic reduction in carbon emissions now. In shipping, we can achieve this by using the full set of tools we have available to us today. Wind propulsion is one of these and will play an essential role in helping shipping achieve its much-needed decarbonisation transition.”

Our General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Stéphanie Lesage

“If we are to achieve the IMO*'s goal of zero emissions by 2050, we need a hybrid propulsion system that combines the solutions available today to decarbonize the maritime sector with the alternative fuels of tomorrow. There is no single solution for the zero emission ship. Investing in zero-carbon technologies now is the best solution for ship owners both in terms of profitability and environmental footprint."

*International Maritime Organization

WP.1Project Management & Coordination01-09-21 / 31-08-23
WP.2Upscale of the SeaWing system kite01-09-21 / 30-04-23
WP.3Flight control laws and development tools01-09-21 / 30-04-23
WP.4SeaWing system testing, demonstration and offshore validation01-08-22 / 31-08-23
WP.5IP Management, Communication and Dissemination01-09-21 / 31-08-23
Seawing4blue project overview
Starting date : 01-09-2021Ending date: 31-08-2023EU contribution: 2,499,952.28€Project Coordinator Romain GIBON
Programs & Products Manager at Airseas