Our key partnerships

Core technologies developed by our partners

The transport solutions offered by Zéphyr & Borée are based on various core technologies developed by our partners. Among these, we are particularly proud to collaborate with VPLP Design, CNIM, and D-Ice Engineering who are the key partners for the development of our project.

Concept of articulated wing-sails

Founded by Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot Prévost, VPLP design has established itself as one of the best naval architecture firm in the world. VPLP is our long-standing partner and we are working closely with their team on the energetic optimisation early into the project, both at the architectural and propulsive levels.

After having demonstrated the great potential of wing-sails in racing yachts, VPLP design has been developing rigging to merchant vessels. Beeing able to have a reefable and furlable sail to face with extreme weather conditions was the greatest challenge.

In 2016, VPLP design made a first prototype of the furlable and automated wing-sails. This project founded in part by ADEME (French Environnemental Agency) allowed to develop wing-sails that are furlable.

Once this constraint was over, another necessity was to make the system more simple and reliable. The control of the rigging does not require additional sailors, the settings are entirely automated and the structure meets the robustness and reliability imperatives required by maritime regulations and commercial ship activities.

Building wing-sails adapted to shipping

To get the best guarantees of reliability and sustainability, VPLP design has developed a partnership with CNIM group to ensure the development and the production of the wing-sails. The CNIM group is a French equipment manufacturer and industrial contractor operating on a worldwide basis. Its activity in advanced engineering, in particular in spatial or defence markets, confer to CNIM credibility in the conception/production of the complex industrial projects with a high added value.

The wing-sails will be produced in La Seyne-sur-Mer. Two first demonstrators of 35 square meters were built in 2019 and successfully tested on Energy Observer, a demonstrator vessel of environmentally responsible technologies

Weather routing

The weather routing is a key technology for Zéphyr & Borée. The fuel savings allowed by the wind remain very variable as they depend on multiple factors, in particular on the geographic area, the season, and the operating speed. Thus, on the same route, the fuel savings can be very important if the wind is favorable, and, the other way round, they might very low in certain wind conditions.

The knowledge of the routes and different weather conditions faced by the vessel during the crossing is a pre-condition to calculate the wind power rendered as a complement to the propeller. To determine precisely the power produced by the wing-sails on a particular route or chosen geographic zone, we rely on a statistical weather routing developed by our partner D-Ice Engineering.

Based on the projected performances of the vessel with the sails (polar tables), and the wind statistics for previous eight years, the weather routing allows estimating precisely the fuel economy achieved on a given sailing route. Thanks to D-Ice Engineering we can determine in advance the level of advisability of a particular maritime route as well as be more precise when writing a business plan.

While navigating, the weather routage allows identifying the optimal route and adopting the right engine regimes to gain the maximum potential of the wind during the crossing.

Frequently Asked Questions

The wind propulsion, how does it work?

The wind energy is for free, unlimited and represents considerable propulsive energy. We truly believe that wind propulsion belongs to the future of maritime transport. Here you can find the answer on the most commonly asked questions:

Is the transport longer?

No, the sail cargo ships that we are developing are equipped with a mixed propulsion, sail + engine. The vessel’s speed is constant and we guarantee the same delays as the « conventional » engine ships, with additionally the reduction of the consumption of fossil energy.

If the wind is unfavourable, the vessel is behind schedule?

No, when the weather conditions change, the ratio of utilisation of the sails and the engine will vary, but the transport schedule is respected regardless of the meteorological conditions.

Is it more expensive?

No, we propose the same transport price as the « conventional » ships. The construction of the vessel fitted with the sails is more costly than the price of the ship only with classical propulsion, but the fuel savings allow compensating higher financing costs.

How important is the reduction of CO2 emissions?

Those economies vary, between 20% and 50%, depending on the geographic zone and the type of vessel. On the base of the vessel’s expected performances calculated by our engineering office and the weather statistics from previous years, we can evaluate the average savings for different geographic areas.

About

Our background

90% of international trade transits by the sea on 45 000 vessels what makes maritime transport an important source of pollution

Zéphyr & Borée is born in 2014 from this statement and the ambition to push forward the energetic model of the merchant cargo ships in order to reduce the environmental impact of the shipping by using renewable energies and low-carbon technologies. The wind propulsion appeared straightaway as one of the most concrete, efficient, and mature solutions among alternatives to diesel.

The meeting in 2015 with architect Marc Van Peteghem, co-founder of VPLP design, was determinant. At that time he started to work on OceanWings, the wing-sails dedicated for merchant vessels. VPLP design very soon became more than a strategic partner, a technological pillar on which Zéphyr & Borée has developed. Today the wing-sails developed by VPLP remain the key technology of our project but we are also working on mixing in other solutions, particularly hydrogen power, therewith to achieve our goal: decarbonise as much as possible the energetic model of the merchant vessels.

About

Our convictions

Our ambition is to contribute actively to the energy transition of maritime transport. We do not consider the company’s profitability as an ultimate goal but more as a way to participate in this changeover. More specifically, the projects developed by Zéphyr & Borée must always satisfy a dual condition: be economically viable for our investors and our clients and participate actively at the decarbonisation of maritime transport. Beyond the principal activity of our company, we are also committed to organise its everyday life around the values which allow the enterprise to have a positive impact on society.

Environment

We aim at limiting our environmental impact in our everyday organisation. We never take domestic flights, we limit our business trips, we prioritise partners who share these commitments. Our offices are lighted by a supplier of renewable electricity Enercoop.

Social impact and financial management

Within the company, we follow governance that gives place to everyone. We deploy an ethical financial policy, based on equitable and transparent management.

Transparency

We are convinced that the transparency of the enterprise is essential to work in confidence with our clients, our employees, and our partners. Our clients can witness that we are developing our projects collaboratively and transparently.