bound4blue advances eSAIL by conducting wind tunnel testing at ITER

bound4blue advances eSAIL by conducting wind tunnel testing at ITER
Alberto Llopis


12 December 2023
  • bound4blue collaborated with the Instituto Tecnológico y de Energías Renovables (ITER) for aerodynamic tests at the ITER wind tunnel facilities, focusing on optimizing suction sail systems for large vessels. 
  • The testing campaign confirmed system improvements, showcasing bound4blue’s commitment to advancing clean propulsion technology and cost-effective propulsion solutions in the maritime industry.  

bound4blue has recently conducted aerodynamic tests at the ITER wind tunnel facilities in collaboration with the Instituto Tecnológico y de Energías Renovables (ITER), a part of the Cabildo de Tenerife. ITER, is a technological and renewable energy institute based in Tenerife, Spain. As a key player in research and development, ITER collaborates with industry leaders to advance technologies contributing to a sustainable future. 

The focus of these tests, held throughout October 2023, was the optimization of the suction area in bound4blue’s suction sail systems for large vessels. The ITER wind tunnel provided an ideal environment for fine-tuning and enhancing the performance of these propulsion systems. 

bound4blue has been at the forefront of research and development in propulsion systems using suction sails, combining the advantages of rigid sails and flettner rotors while mitigating their drawbacks. The company’s modernized suction sail, named eSAIL®, converts wind into direct propulsion for vessels, allowing shipowners and operators to reduce their environmental footprint and cut fuel costs. 

wind tunnel

In 2021, ITER collaborated with bound4blue in preliminary tests, studying the suction sail profile, pressures, and speeds to determine optimal configurations. As the research evolved, new needs emerged, leading to a detailed evaluation of the suction area to optimize its performance. 

For this latest campaign, ITER played a pivotal role in constructing the test model and integrating various suction area configurations. Precision instrumentation, including high-precision pressure measurements with scanners and a fan simulating suction sail operating conditions, was employed to gather crucial data. 

The results of this testing campaign allow bound4blue to confirm improvements in their systems and validate existing theoretical calculations, aligning with their commitment to continuous improvement. 

Alberto Llopis, Lead Aerodynamics Engineer of bound4blue, says: In our quest to constantly improve, we wanted to focus on a single but crucial detail in the complex aerodynamics of a suction sail, the suction area. The facilities at ITER are perfect for this, and we could not have done it without the incredible help and dedication from the ITER team. The data gathered allows us to validate our internal tools with the ultimate goal of improving the performance of the eSAIL. ” 

The insights gained from the ITER wind tunnel testing underscore Bound4blue’s dedication to pioneering environmentally friendly and cost-effective propulsion solutions. As the company continues to lead in clean propulsion technology, further advancements are anticipated for the maritime industry.