Back to the future? Freight giant Cargill turns to wind to reduce carbon

By Jonathan Saul

LONDON, July 1 (Reuters) – In a new take on old technology, Cargill, one of the world’s largest ship charterers, will add state-of-the-art sails to a vessel early next year to test whether wind power can cut its carbon emissions, said a senior company executive.

With around 90% of global trade transported by sea, shipping accounts for almost 3% of global CO2 emissions, but environmental campaigners say the sector’s efforts to cut emissions are slow.

Leading agribusiness group Cargill will begin testing a dry bulk carrier with two wind sails in the first quarter of 2023, Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill’s shipping division, told Reuters.

“There will be cargo on board, it will not be sea trials but real commercial use.”

“We may want to use a three to six month period to see how it works and then be ready to pull the trigger on an additional set of ships and it will depend on the availability of the right ships,” Dieleman said, adding that a fully wind-optimized vessel could reduce emissions by 30%.

“This has never been done before with hard fenders for a commercial vessel of this size,” Dieleman said, adding that Cargill is also considering combining wind power with carbon-free fuels.

BAR Technologies, which has designed boats for the America’s Cup, is developing the sails which are built by Norway’s Yara Marine Technologies. Earlier this week, the two companies also signed an agreement with dry bulk owner Berge Bulk to install wind sails on a vessel, which will be installed in the second quarter of 2023.

Cargill charters between 600 and 700 vessels, 90% of which are dry bulk and the rest for tankers.

Cargill’s overall seaborne volumes increased to 240 million tonnes in fiscal year 2021-22 (June-June), from 220 million tonnes the previous year.

The group is part of an initiative called Sea Cargo Charter which tracks ship emissions by companies. Cargill’s emissions were 5.9% above the set trajectory.

“You had supply chain disruptions, booming economies with a lot of ship acceleration, which led to more emissions,” Dieleman said, adding “there was still work to be done. “.

(Reporting by Jonathan Saul; editing by Barbara Lewis)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022.

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