UK’s WingTek to develop new retrofit solution for harnessing wind power

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Bristol-based maritime engineering start-up WingTek has won a £2.2m UK Department for Transport innovation grant to develop its WingTek Wingsail, a unique Wind Auxiliary Propulsion (WAP) system (render pictured) designed to be retrofitted easily to existing commercial vessels.

Neil Richards, WingTek Managing Director, said: “WingTek’s innovative Wind Auxiliary Propulsion system has received a significant boost thanks to the help and support of Innovate UK leading to this grant. We are delighted to be working with a fantastic set of project partners at the University of Bristol and the National Composites Centre and we are now well supported to fast-track the development on the route to commercial production.”

The project will deliver two full-size operational prototypes, one on-shore for long-term testing and development and a second unit installed on a commercial UK vessel for sea-trials, with the project scheduled to complete by March 2025.

WingTek Chairman, Roger Francis, said: “We started with a sea-proven design with a long pedigree which we’ve refined and developed based on our own direct maritime operational experience. The result is a resilient solution developed using state of the art tools, materials and control technologies.”

“Fleet operators are under pressure to reduce their carbon emissions and operating costs by reducing dependence on fossil fuels. The WingTek Wingsail system provides a practical and workable solution for both vessel owners and charter operators”.

InnovateUK awarded the ‘Wings for Ships’ project led by WingTek Ltd a grant of £2.2m under the UK Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 3 (CMDC3), for wind-assisted ship propulsion development aimed at helping the shipping industry reach Net Zero by 2050. The National Composites Centre will contribute its knowledge and expertise in composite design and structural analysis in the development of the two demonstration prototypes. The University of Bristol will provide their expertise in 2D and 3D computational fluid modelling of aerodynamics, wind tunnel facilities for physical model testing and energy system modelling.

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