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Ferry Tech: Retractable Bow Foils for M/F Teistin

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

October 22, 2019



Innovation in the world of marine design and propulsion continues to move forward at record speed, driven by new emissions regulation and the push toward emission free ships. In September 2019 an innovative new technology from Wavefoil AS of Trondheim, Norway was installed on the Faroese ferry M/F Teistin, the first ship in the world with retractable bow foils that are designed not only for ship stability but also to convert wave energy directly into propulsive thrust.

The foils are designed to both help in saving fuel and improving comfort on board. 

Since September 25, 2019, M/F Teistin has been partly powered by the waves of the North Atlantic Ocean, transporting thousands of passengers between Gamlarætt, Skopun and Hestur in the Faroe Islands with its new retractable bow foils. The area where the ferry operates is exposed to heavy seas, and very early results indicate a trouble-free operation.

Founder and CEO of Wavefoil, Eirik Bøckmann, has studied the effect of bow foils as a PhD student and Postdoctoral researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU. "Our foil modules are suitable for ships shorter than ca. 200 m, sailing in wave-rich areas. – We estimate that the foils may reduce the fuel consumption of Teistin by 10%" Bøckmann says. "We could not have wished for a more suitable ship for our first installation than M/F Teistin. She sails a very exposed route and we see that the foils are used virtually all the time”.

With funding from NTNU Discovery, the Research Council of Norway, Innovation Norway and Climate-KIC, as well as private capital, Wavefoil has developed and produced the company’s first full-scale foil module. The foils can be installed on both existing and new ships.

"In two and a half years, Wavefoil has taken an idea to market by means of government funding and private capital, including crowdfunding. This shows that the Norwegian incentives for startups work well and that Norwegians believe in green technology, said Bøckmann, noting the potential is huge. "If all suitable ships install our foil modules, we estimate a reduction in CO2 equivalents of 10-20 million tons" he estimates.

The effect of bow foils has been thoroughly investigated through model tests and simulations.

"With the installation on Teistin we first and foremost intend to demonstrate that the retraction mechanism is dependable, and that the system is easy to use for the crew. So far it appears that we have succeeded in doing so" said Audun Yrke, Technical Manager of Wavefoil.

The next delivery is just around the corner. Wavefoil is now producing foil modules for a new ambulance vessel in western Finnmark county, which is due for delivery from the yard Maritime Partner in Ålesund in the summer of 2020. 

"We have recently raised money to grow the business, and with the successful demonstration in the Faroe Islands we are positioned where we should be to supply a growing demand for our foil modules. Now we are ready to take on the market" says Bøckmann.

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