Written by captain and builder of Lo entropy, Geoff Boerne

On the coast of the Port of Hundested in Denmark SV. Lo Entropy is feeling the sea for the first time in years after undergoing massive constructions and continuing to remodel her interior.

Our contracted goal as a partner in the Dual Ports project is to prove or disprove the feasibility (economically and operationally) of cargo transport under sail or wind power. In this regard, I am optimistic that we shall succeed now that there is an appetite for green EU transport.

I say this as having worked with the vessel SV Lo Entropy in developing economies; we survived when diesel was 18 US cents per litre, and even then, fossil fueled formal maritime transport was the exception. Simply as the economies we served could not afford modern shipping. It was a costly matter and as a result, transport continued despite the lack of modern maritime transport options; locally made vessels with some using engine, some sail, but all operated at extremely low costs due to their components on the whole been locally sourced, particularly the sailing vessels, which exceeded the need for modern shipping.

In the EU, we see our competition mainly as road transport, trucks and ferries, and to some extent short sea shipping. Our aim is to become a “sea truck”, carrying twice the tonnage and capacity of a normal legal EU truck at a lower cost, despite being low to zero CO2-emissions or green transport. Should we achieve this, and we believe we can, then we can reduce the dependency on road transport in some cases, and further, act as part of the supply chain in a multi modal transport scenario.

The benefits of achieving this goal could be many, as we would be offering possibilities for short sea transport as well as removing truck journeys from the road, creating maritime employment as well as utilizing small ports which will soon be gentrified if not offered an economically viable alternative to continue operating as a port.

The benefits of a fleet of small vessels sailing cargo around the coasts of Europe are many; economic, social and emissions massively reduced where they are utilized, which is a crucial and a desired alternative for cargo transport consumers; all of which could be spin off’s of our primary goal within the Dual Ports project.

However, in terms of CO2 emissions, we will not be completely zero, as we will still need engines for entering and leaving harbors, windless days and domestic operations, etc., which, although less than any other cargo transporter by quite a margin, is still not zero.  This is where the hydrogen concept and our secondary goal comes in.

Hydrogen produced while sailing

Hydrogen or a related carrier such as ammonia might well be the fuel of the future, but in our case, we see green hydrogen as an energy storage facility.

We have the means to make a lot of hydro renewable energy via our powerful free spinning propellor whilst we are using the wind to sail/propel our vessel; so much so that we do not have the capacity to store this energy in batteries without having to carry a vast number of batteries and so much that it would affect our sailing and cargo capacity abilities.

So, what we would like to do is, despite the energy losses in this type of energy transfer, use our onboard produced renewable energy (hydro, wind and solar) to make hydrogen, store it and use it via a fuel cell to create electricity to propel the vessel via the propellor when needed (entering and leaving port, e.g. when there is no wind to sail by) as well as for domestic onboard needs (e.g. winches, cooking, heating), thus making our operation truly zero emissions.

We believe that our hydrogen concept can play a small part, in tandem with other green maritime technologies, in forcing green change on the maritime transport industry via cost reductions. Our hypothesis is that we can make enough energy using our free spinning propellor whilst we are sailing to reach zero emission by using the wind for propulsion and this energy to produce hydrogen to be stored and then used for both propulsion and domestic needs.

There are already means to wind propel ships using ventifoils among others. Using such technologies, ships could produce their own hydrogen/ammonia whilst they are in favorable wind conditions. It might mean some routing changes, but that’s a planning issue and can easily be dealt with. This was shown in the loss of Suez Canal transits when oil prices dropped, and ships rerouted around the Cape Agulhas using more fuel and taking more time but still reducing cost.

The main factor here is that a ship producing and storing even 20% of its fuel can undercut a competitor if they will not do the same, and this cost reduction will force the change needed on this industry, rather than legislation.

To this end, we have invested in a hybrid drive, which allows us to be propelled by both a diesel engine as well as an electric motor. It has power take offs (PTO’s) for hydraulic pumps which we can use for steering, winches, etc. Most importantly, it allows for our free spinning propellor to power the PTO’s and the generator. The electric motor has a double function as it becomes a powerful generator when not used as a motor whilst under sail or when the diesel engine is been used.

The pilot project’s objective is to prove that wind propelled cargo transport via a modern specifically designed sailing cargo vessel, SV Lo Entropy, is cost effective and viable – and the future for achieving the goal with SV Lo Entropy is set. 

Celtic Cruises aims to transform the way that road transport cargo, short sea containerized and palletized cargo is moved cost effectively with a reliable, fossil fuel free.

“We are changing the configuration of our cargo sailing vessel, SV Lo Entropy. The work will increase our hold capacity to enable the ship to carry 76 Euro pallets or approximately 50 tons equal to 2 of the largest capacity EU truck loads – 38 Euro pallets/24 tons per vehicle and more than the capacity of 3 forty foot containers). We have to set this goal as to fit into land transport’s, or road, and short sea transport’s supply and logistic’s chain, using a common transport unit size; the Euro pallet. This will allow not only for an efficient intermodal transport operation, but will be price competitive with these other transport modes besides being truly environmentally friendly and emissions free transport mode,” says Geoff Bourne.

Th SV Lo Entropy will, after the transformation, have the ability to undertake 468 voyages per year (234 voyages in each direction) carrying at full capacity – a total of 23, 400 tons or 35, 568 Euro pallets (120 x 80 x 146 cm high). Each voyage cycle (loading, sailing and off-loading) will be of an 18-hour duration allowing for 36 voyages every four weeks. Furthermore, SV Lo Entropy can transport 12 passengers in four cabins.

The SV Lo Entropy is expected to be ready for sail with full cargo for the first tim in May; its first green transport cargo via wind propelled sailing cargo vessel and the route is Oostend-Ramsgate.

No fuel, no emissions
Further, and as a secondary goal, Celtic Cruises is in conversation with other parties in designing and implementing an absolute zero emissions transport mode, a “no fuel, no emissions” concept.  The aim is to produce and store hydrogen via onboard renewable energy sources; hydro (from the free spinning propeller whilst under sail), wave/flap technology, wind and solar renewable energy, and then via either a fuel cell or a converted combustion engine to use this stored hydrogen for propulsion and all domestic vessel needs. Discussions are ongoing, and should this aim be achieved, a suitable update will be released.

For more information please contact:
Geoff Boerne, director of Celtic Cruises
T: +45 53 55 50 80 | E: loentropy@gmail.com

On the 19th of March our partner Madadh MacLaine of Fair Winds Trust will be presenting DUAL Ports and the Sail Cargo Network at an event in Copenhagen, Denmark.

IWSA member, Captain Geoff Bourne is currently engaged in refitting his sail cargo vessel, the SV Lo Entropy in Hundestad, Denmark with the intention of operating her in the Baltic later this year onwards – carrying 36 tons of cargo and up to 8 passengers.

At this Copenhagen event Geoff, a  veteran sail cargo captain in the Caribbean and East Africa, will introduce the vessel and his company plans.

You will also have a chance to hear from Gavin Alwright, Secretary of the International Windship Association.

The event will be held at City Hotel Nabo, Copenhagen V, 50 meters from the west side entrance/exit of Copenhagen Central Station.

You can read more about Captain Geoff Bourne’s vessel, SV Lo Entropy on their website.

The Sail Cargo Alliance will meet in the Port of Oostende from April 13th-15th.

SCA members, cargo owners and DUAL Ports partners will meet and work on the Sail Cargo pilot, and the possibility of having a sail cargo hub at the Port of Oostende.

You can read more about the meeting via this Facebook-event.

If you wish to participate in this event, please RSVP via this link.

NEW MEMBERS: If you are joining the SCA for the first time please take a moment to fill out this questionnaire, so that they have all your details.

You can read more about the Sail pilot here.

For the third time the partners participating in the European project DUAL Ports met to discuss the possibilities of transforming ports into more environmentally friendly ones. At the partner-meeting in Emden this week, the project managers reported on the current state of their particular DUAL Ports projects and the progresses already made. During the three days in Emden and Leer, the challenges that still have to be overcome were discussed together. “We all face the same challenges. We want to benefit from the experience of our partners and work together to develop larger solutions”, explains Dr. Matthäus Wuczkowski, Sustainability Manager at Niedersachsen Ports.

Exchange with the project MariGreen

Moreover, the participants of the DUAL Ports met with the MariGreen project in order to share knowledge and exchange experiences. The MariGreen project also deals with the possibilities of making the maritime economy more environmentally friendly. However, the DUAL Ports project primarily concentrates on finding solutions for port authorities, while the MariGreen project is mainly focused on the development of concepts for shipping companies. At the meeting, experts from both sides were able to discuss within small groups the potential and current challenges of LNG, hydrogen and sail cargo. All participants agreed that there will be a variety of environmentally friendly fuels in the maritime economy in the future. However, which low-emission fuels will ultimately prevail, is largely dependent on medium-term legislation, on the incentive mechanisms of the market and on the awareness of society.

“In order to work efficiently on these issues in the future, greater cooperation between ports and the maritime sector is necessary”, stresses Wuczkowski. “For this reason, we are also planning to promote a close exchange between the two projects in the future.”, Katja Baumann, managing director of MARIKO GmbH, agreed.

Click to learn more about the MariGreen project

The DUAL Ports project

The European project DUAL Ports, launched in 2015 and financed by the EU and the Interreg North Sea Region Programme, brings together ports, businesses and scientific institutions from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Scotland. The aim of the cooperation is to jointly develop solutions for the long-term reduction of CO2 emissions and environmental pollution caused by the activities of the port industry. Through the exchange of knowledge between the partners and the emerging synergies, the development and implementation of sustainability innovations in ports should be promoted and facilitated.

DUAL Ports met for the third partnership meeting in Emden, Germany

Dr. Matthäus Wuczkowski gave a tour of the Port of Emden

“Prinz Heinrich” a 100-year old steam boat, was the setting of Tuesday nights dinner in Leer.

The partnership meeting was very productive, and gave way for new thoughts on transnational cooperation.

A very traditional East Frisian tea time in Leer, before the workshop with MariGreen.

A productive discussion of the SAIL pilot between Fair Winds Trust, the International Wind Ships Association and the Port of Oostende.

Dr. Matthäus Wuczkowski introduced the 900 meter loading tracks, where the installation of LED intelligent lighting will be realised.