In addition to the production of car tires, the Michelin Group has another project that is more… how to say… eccentric. Wing Sail Mobility (WISAMO) is dedicated to improving the efficiency of cargo ships with sailing equipment. Unlike ships of the past, these are inflatable sails that can be quickly set up when there is favorable wind and removed when not needed.
Helping, not replacing motors
The WISAMO project does not intend (how could it?) Replace cargo ship engines, but can supplement them with a clean and affordable power source. The automatic sails fold like the bellows of an accordion, fill with compressed air and open to raise the telescopic mast.
Cargo ships and multipurpose sails
These sails can be used individually or in groups. According to Michelin experts, can reduce the fuel consumption of cargo ships by 10% - 20%. Also, a reversible sail performs better than a traditional sail, especially when sailing upwind. The structure can withstand wind forces up to the storm by absorbing energy in an air cushion.
Inflatable sails for cargo ships: versatile project ...
The whole system is adequately automated and selects the optimal route. Inflatable sails can be installed on cargo ships already at sea, or planned in advance in the project. Michelin says they can also be useful for cruise ships and yachts.
Michelin presented the WISAMO project at Movin'On International Summit. The company produced a 100 square meter sail. and asked to try it on the French sailor's sailing ship Michel Dejuaeu. Testing will take place next year, then production will follow.
… Which for me is a palliative.
I want to be clear: I am not throwing away a 10-20% reduction in consumption on cargo ships. These are very important quantities of fuel. But doesn't such a thing seem to you just an attempt to postpone the inevitable? Shall we set sails to save a fraction of fuel by continuing to carry these monsters around with oil in their bellies?
And how much longer?
The giants of hydrocarbons must prepare to give up all this, and to do so (within the limits of their "weight") in the shortest possible time. These half measures do not contribute significantly to me.