Home » UK’s Nuclear Transport Solutions joins initiative exploring innovative sail tech

UK’s Nuclear Transport Solutions joins initiative exploring innovative sail tech

by Liam Turner
A render of the Smart Green Shipping FastRig wing sail

Nuclear Transport Solutions (NTS), part of the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, has partnered with a renewable marine technology specialist as part of an initiative looking to add innovative sail technology to nuclear transport ships.

NTS’s shipping division has teamed up with renewable systems design and engineering firm Smart Green Shipping (SGS) – which is developing unique retrofit sails and sustainable technology for commercial ships – on the project.

The project, part of a two-year plan called Winds of Change, will seek to inform future opportunities, which could see the sails fitted to ships.

It is hoped that doing so will significantly reduce vessel fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

The project is currently undergoing technical, commercial, and environmental assessments and will run until March 2025.

SGS is developing a test centre in Scotland, which will support the safety, technical, and performance data required for any future installation of the sails.

Pacific Grebe, one of three specialist vessels in the Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd (PNTL) fleet, is being assessed and a feasibility study drawn up to consider the practicalities of fitting the sails.

NTS ships are operated by PNTL, which is predominantly owned by NTS and in part by French nuclear fuel firm Orano and a consortium of Japanese utilities.

‘Excellent opportunity’

Andy Milling, marine manager at NTS, said: “As owners of UK-flagged, high-quality specialist vessels, we’re committed to support UK shipping net-zero initiatives.

“We’re excited to be working with SGS to address the highly complex technical challenges that arise from retrofitting wind-assist technology onto merchant vessels.

“Our motivation is to reduce vessel emissions whilst maintaining our high performance and critical delivery schedules.”

Di Gilpin, SGS CEO, added: “To have the opportunity to work with such a highly specialist ship and her deeply knowledgeable crew and managers gives us an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the feasibility of retrofitting SGS FastRig wingsails onto ships with the highest safety standards.

“If we are successful, this will give comfort to shipowners and managers that this technology will not compromise their strict safety protocols.

“Testing the FastRig on land initially ensures we iron out any technical glitches before installing on a working vessel.

“We are honoured to be able to work with NTS on this exciting project.”

The Winds of Change project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 3 (CMDC3), funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with InnovateUK.

Image: A render of the Smart Green Shipping FastRig wing sail. Credit: Nuclear Transport Solutions/Smart Green Shipping


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