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ZShips concept for wave energy propulsion systems


Zships render of wave energy propulsion systemAlongside with already-in-use renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, wave energy technology is being investigated by ZShips in order to develop zero emission ships.

ZShips is a Canadian company readying a proprietary wave power system. The concept involves oscillating water columns integrated into a ship’s hull, which allow to convert wave energy into stored energy in the form of compressed air: it can either be stored as potential energy or used on demand to generate electricity.

The company is looking to retrofit its technologies on fishing vessels. The wave energy system will be tailor-made to match the hull’s existing shape. Depending on the vessel’s dimensions, the wave energy system will cover a large part of the total energy demand.

José Luis Gutiérrez-García, ZShips International CCC CEO, said: “We chose a large fishing vessel as a pilot project because fuel costs represent 60 percent of the OPEX for these vessels. Fishing vessels are numerous compared to other larger vessel types, and the cost to obtain one for demonstration purposes is reasonable. We evaluated the limited deck space for alternatives such as sails, Flettner rotors and placement for solar and wind on board a working fishing vessel. Larger cargo vessels may have more deck space available, however they also have to load and unload cargo. This has to be considered too when installing renewable technologies.”

“New propeller systems, hull modifications or under hull air bubbles systems can also improve fuel economy by a few percent, but these are expensive due to down time and retrofit costs,” continued Gutiérrez-García. “We considered our retrofit cost compared to LNG and other potential modifications. All still have fuel costs whereas we have zero fuel costs and zero emissions, including CO2 which may (will) be taxed in the future. While LNG retrofits can reduce emissions considerably. They are also very expensive and not practical for many vessels.”

Zships is specifically targeting vessels ranging more than 40 metres in length, including superyachts, ferries, research vessels, cruise ships, handysize, handymax, panamax, Neo-panamax.
The company is going straight to zero avoiding expensive incrementalism, replacing conventional (fossil) and alternative liquid or gaseous fuels with renewable energy, electricity and storage to provide 100% fuel cost savings, global travel with zero emissions, unlimited range, cutting underwater noise and vibrations and reduced harm to marine life and environment.

ZShips, whose concept took part in the second edition of Our Ocean Challenge and was selected among the 15 best ideas, is now looking for investment partners for 3D virtual prototyping and subsequent research and development.