An energy transition project, WHISPER, has been granted 9,2 million EUR in funding from Horizon Europe for a 4-year innovation project. The goal of the project is to develop a solution that can significantly reduce emissions from the long-distance maritime industry, which is responsible for around 2.5% of the world’s total CO2 emissions. WHISPER aims to demonstrate around 30% fuel savings on a retrofit bulk carrier and more than 15% on a retrofit containership.
A strong and diverse consortium of experts from across Europe will develop a fully modular retrofit solution, comprising a wind-solar hybrid power system to significantly reduce auxiliary engine emissions and a tilting winqsail system to provide wind-assisted propulsion, significantly reducing main engine fuel consumption and emissions.
Marc Van Peteghem, chairman and co-founder of AYRO: “In the current context of fuel price volatility and the increasingly stringent environmental regulations with the implementation of the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) this year for the maritime industry, we see the WHISPER project as a catalyst for retrofitting the commercial vessels with breakthrough green technologies. WHISPER will enable AYRO to launch its first tiltable Oceanwings, addressing new segments such as the bulk carriers. We are proud and thrilled to be involved in this ambitious project with keymaritime stakeholders, including other wind and solar technology suppliers.”
María Kristín Þrastardóttir, co-founder of Sidewind: “We have high hopes for this innovative collaboration and truly believe that the project can be an effective tool in the fight against climate change. By combining and developing three innovative wind and solar technologies, and creating a modular, retrofit solution, we can lower the emissions of container and tank ships by 15-30%. If successful and widely adopted, WHISPER could reduce the emissions of the long-distance maritime transport industry by what equals the emissions of entire countries.”
Luca Bonci, Solbian CEO: “Solbian is firmly committed to spreading the utilization of solar energy on cargo ships. After years of experience in creating solar solutions for any kind of vessel, from small sailboats to ferries, we trust that joining forces between companies active in renewables (solar and wind) and marine experts will now give a strong impulse to the adoption of clean energy sources in maritime transport, for a better future.”
Kjartan Due Nielsen, Innovation Manager of Verkis: “Verkis is proud to have been chosen to coordinate this highly relevant innovation project. It aligns with our focus on energy transition, sustainability and innovation and builds on our expertise from sustainable energy projects. Verkis will also contribute the overall technical system design, LCA and aerodynamic simulations and we are certain that with our partners in the project it will bring successful and impactful results. Energy transition of the maritime industry is complex, and WHISPER could be a game changing solution for this sector.”
The complex application process was led by lnspiralia, a vital component in guiding the partners to fulfil all necessary requirements for full participation in an EU project of this size. The WHISPER project is comprised of 14 partners: Verkis (project lead), Sidewind, AYRO, Solbian, CANOE, Ant Topic, Dotcom, Samskip, Nav-Tech, Stirling Design International, BBA/Fjeldco, Lloyds Register, Athygli, and lnspiralia GmbH.