CWS offers an innovative propulsion system for the marine sector. “Our system is the result of extensive research and development to best address the challenges of hybridization and decarbonization in maritime transportation,” explained Bruno Toubiana, co-founder of CWS. Its patented rigid wing sail system provides regular propulsion with limited drift effects, even at high speeds. “We have developed and successfully wind tunnel-tested an optimal asymmetrical profile that provides more power and better upwind performance. Our patented inversion system enables the deployment of a fully rigid asymmetrical wing on both the port and starboard sides while reducing the height by half and virtually eliminating drag in a symmetrical position.” The wing sail developed by CWS reduces the vessel’s fuel consumption by assisting the main engine and can be deployed on both existing fleets (retrofit) and newbuild ships (direct integration).
50 wing sails produced per year at the Saint-Nazaire plant
The Saint-Nazaire plant will produce the composite wing components and assemble the wing sails. They plan to start production in 2024 and ramp up to one wing sail a week by 2026. The first series of wing sails will equip an entire fleet of new container ships starting in 2025. Ultimately, the aim is to equip more newbuilds and retrofit existing ships in circulation.
Winner with Zéphyr&Borée in 2022
In 2022, a series of positive developments further affirmed the viability of the project. Tests conducted under quasi-real conditions in a 3D wind tunnel yielded performance exceeding expectations. CWS was also awarded Corimer’s government-led call for projects, with the “Mervent 2025” project to produce a 6-wing, wind-assisted container ship with a consortium comprising Zéphyr&Borée, GTT and Ecole Centrale Nantes, making it Corimer’s biggest project (40% of the total budget allocated). At their Saint-Nazaire plant, CWS will produce and assemble the 60 wing sails that will equip the ships to be built by Lorient-based Zéphyr&Borée for a coalition of shippers for transatlantic sea routes.
“Saint-Nazaire offers a combination of quality infrastructure and expertise in composites.”
Among several cities in consideration, Saint-Nazaire emerged as the optimal choice for anchoring the company’s operations. In June 2023, CWS will open their production plant in the port of Saint-Nazaire, near the submarine base. “Saint-Nazaire offers three key advantages: large docks for vessel mooring, substantial lifting capabilities, and high-quality expertise in composite materials.” For the time being, CWS will maintain their research and development activities in Paris.
Over 200 jobs created in Saint-Nazaire
Founded in 2016, the startup currently employs 25 individuals with complementary skills in aerodynamics, materials, mechanics and automation. Supported by Nantes Saint-Nazaire Développement, CWS has begun discussions with local partners to help ramp up their workforce. The company plans to hire over 200 employees by 2025, encompassing various profiles such as quality engineers, technicians, mechanical engineers, and more.
• Wing length: 36 meters (when deployed) and 21 meters (when folded), with a width of 9 meters.
• Wing area: 324 m2
• 60 wings to be delivered between 2025 and 2026
• CWS will be present at Wind for Goods on June 1-2, 2023 in Saint-Nazaire.
“I’m delighted to welcome CWS to Saint-Nazaire. The expertise and skills that Saint-Nazaire has developed in aeronautics, shipbuilding, and offshore wind power will be instrumental in decarbonizing maritime transportation. This further demonstrates that Saint-Nazaire is at the forefront of the environmental transition,” said David Samzun, Mayor of Saint-Nazaire.
“CWS’ choice of Saint-Nazaire is clear evidence of the importance of the wind-powered cargo transport sector in the Nantes Saint-Nazaire region. With the second Wind for Goods expo, our region is reaffirming its ambition to meet the challenge of decarbonizing the maritime industry, one of our strategic sectors,” said Johanna Rolland, Mayor of Nantes and President of the Nantes Saint-Nazaire Développement agency.
“Our aim is to support innovative projects that work towards the decarbonisation of maritime and port activities, and that help to make Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port a major player in the energy and ecological transition of the Greater West. We are delighted to be able to provide CWS with a solution for the production, storage and handling of XXL wings on our port facilities in Saint-Nazaire. This is the first concrete step in the establishment of an industry with a promising future, one that will create jobs in the port area, at the heart of an attractive region for the development of this activity.” said Olivier Trétout, President of the Management Board of Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port.
“Decarbonizing maritime transport is one of the key factors in the ecological transition: a transition that is both respectful of the environment and a creator of jobs and wealth. The arrival of CWS and their wind-assisted propulsion system in Saint-Nazaire, home to some of the largest French and European shipbuilding enterprises, is a source of great pride for the region and its elected representatives” said Christelle Morançais, President of the Pays de la Loire Region.