Safe, steady and sustainable sailing through the waves thanks to smart equipment

Ground-breaking retractable ship bow foils for unbeatable cost-saving, emission reduction and motion stabilization

The safe and stable navigation under circumstances of tumultuous water is a great challenge for medium-sized vessels. Bad weather navigation affects the speed of the boat as well as the health and well-being of the crew. Moreover, it increases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The EU-funded SmartWings project will introduce a unique solution for ship stabilisation and forward thrust for medium-size ships. Through the innovative production of the first-ever retractable bow foils, SmartWings aims to offer a cut-rate tool for stable ship motion, contributing to the transition to zero-emission navigation.


Medium-size ships navigating in waves suffer up to 100% higher resistance than in calm water. This added resistance has several consequences:
  1. dramatic speed loss
  2. increase of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
  3. dangerous roll (side to side) and
    pitch (up and down) movement that causes seasickness and decreases crew productivity. Adding wings or foils to a ship bow can use wave energy to propel the ship forward and damp roll and pitch motions, stabilizing the ship.
However, navigating with bow foils is counterproductive in certain situations, such as in calm or extreme weather, where the foils increase the ship resistance. A retraction and storage mechanism for the foils in these situations is desired, but until now no practical solution had been developed for bow foils retraction.


More information about the project can be found at the project website.