In September 2019, the Faroese ferry M/F Teistin became the first ship in the world with retractable bow foils from the company Wavefoil AS, based in Trondheim, Norway.
The foils convert wave energy directly into propulsive thrust and reduce the ship motions, thereby saving fuel and improving the 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 retractable bow foils from Wavefoil. The area is exposed to heavy seas, and the installation is considered a success after three weeks of 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”.
The ship’s crew is pleased with the new foils. – I feel that Teistin moves less in the waves than before, says Jónleif Láberg, captain of M/F Teistin.
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 newbuilt 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, says Bøckmann.
The potential is large. – If all suitable ships install our foil modules, we estimate a reduction in CO2 equivalents of 10-20 million tons, says Bøckmann.
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, says 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.
Wavefoil AS is company based in Trondheim, Norway, providing modules with retractable bow foils (underwater wings) for ships. The foils typically save 5-15% fuel and improves the comfort on board. The benefits of bow foils have long been known, but Wavefoil is the first company that has developed a commercial and patent-pending solution where the foils can be retracted into the ship hull, which is crucial for such foils to be a commercial success.