Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Devizes firm helps shipping industry reduces carbon emissions with ancient and space-age technology 

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Smart Green Shipping's FastRigs system


A start-up based in land-locked Devizes has developed technology that will help the shipping industry reduce its CO2 emissions – with the return of sails.

With 90 percent of everything we consume moved by sea, the shipping industry is responsible for around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually, which is at least 2.5 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions.

Now, Smart Green Shipping has developed a wind-assist power solution based on America’s Cup wing sails.

Its FastRigs system involves a series of ‘smart’ vertical aerofoils mounted on vessels.

The aerofoils are paired with a sophisticated analysis system that can accurately calculate the available wind to any ship, across any trade route at different speeds.

It aims to reduce fuel consumption by at least a fifth initially and building on that as the technology progresses.

SGS has been using meteorological and satellite technology at the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre UK.

The technology will help to develop the prototype for this state-of-the-art digital software for this wing sail system.

This digital software can provide projected annual fuel savings accrued, whether that is through retrofitting the technology into an existing ship, or as part of a new-build design.

This enables project partners to finance the greenhouse gas-saving technology.

Diane Gilpin, founder and CEO of SGS, said: "Wind is free, clean, and abundantly available to ships that are equipped to harness it.

"Our modern wind-assist solutions are highly advanced and optimised to enable the shipping industry to start driving down emissions immediately.

"For SGS, the ESA BIC UK support over the last two years has been of key strategic importance to our mission, to drive the uptake of renewables in the maritime industry using wind power.

"The development of our digital tool is critical to our efforts to support ship owners assessing the commercial viability of installing wind-assist solutions on their ships."

Dr Sue O’Hare, operations manager at the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre, said: "Combining satellite technology with wind power in a mission to reduce CO2 emissions in the global shipping industry is an inspirational example of how space can help address both our environmental and industrial challenges.

"I’m thrilled to have supported SGS in the development of such pioneering technology and wish it every success as it takes its business to the next level."