CWS in Saint-Nazaire: driving the decarbonisation of maritime transport

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The maritime industry desperately needs to reduce its carbon footprint. In response to this, the company CWS (Computed Wing Sail) has announced the opening of its plant in the port of Saint-Nazaire. With a focus on innovation and sustainability, CWS has designed an asymmetric rigid wing sail that promises to improve energy efficiency and revolutionise the industry. 

With an investment totalling several millions of euros, CWS will transform an existing building into a state-of-the-art facility for manufacturing and assembling innovative sails that have the potential to significantly reduce fuel consumption on ships. This initiative promises to generate more than 50 job opportunities in the region by 2025.

Raising sails towards a more sustainable future

In partnership with Nantes Saint-Nazaire Développement, Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port, and la CARENE, CWS will begin operations in a 4,800 sqm building located in the port of Saint-Nazaire. This site will be the epicentre for the production, assembly, and testing of the rigid wing sails, recognised for their asymmetrical and reversible design. “The arrival of CWS and its wind propulsion system in Saint-Nazaire, home to some of the largest French and European shipbuilding companies, is a source of great pride for the region and its inhabitants,” said Christelle Morançais, President of the Atlantic France Regional Council.

The patented rigid wing sail system developed by CWS features an optimal asymmetrical profile that provides smooth and efficient propulsion, minimising drift effects even at high speeds. Bruno Toubiana, co-founder of the project, explains that this innovative design also allows for the deployment of a fully rigid asymmetric wing on both port and starboard sides, thus reducing aerodynamic drag. In practical terms, this technological breakthrough can eliminate up to 50% of a ship’s fuel consumption. 

Project Mervent 2025: CWS’s future towards green shipping

CWS is scheduled to manufacture its first six wings in 2025 as part of the “Mervent 2025” project, which was awarded to them after winning the government’s Corimer call for projects. The aim of the project, led by the company Zéphyr & Borée, is to build a hybrid power container ship. At a later stage, Zéphyr & Borée will lead the construction of a fleet of ten container ships. For CWS, this represents one of the largest orders in the company’s history, resulting in the production of a total of 60 wings. The vessels will be built by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD).

With aspirations to achieve an annual production rate of 50 wings and to recruit 50 people by the end of 2025, CWS is actively procuring funds to bolster expansion. In the words of Bruno Toubiana, “We’ll boast the world’s premier wing propulsion production facility”.

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