Canopée spreads her wings

Canopée is the world’s first hybrid electric/thermal-powered industrial vessel. Developed to meet ArianeGroup’s logistical requirements notably, this new-generation vessel will transport Ariane 6 launcher parts from European ports to the Pariacabo port in Kourou, French Guiana, for the next 15 years. Ariane 6 is a program managed and financed by the European Space Agency (ESA). As prime contractor and design authority for the launcher, ArianeGroup handles development and production with its industrial partners, as well as marketing via its subsidiary Arianespace.

Canopée spreads her wings

6 minutes, 20 secondes

Canopée paves the way for a more responsible shipping

A common concern facing a major challenge
The maritime transport sector is responsible for 3% of greenhouse gas emissions. 90% of the goods consumed in the world are transported by sea. This trend has intensified in recent years, with the volume of goods transported increasing by 250% in 40 years. Shipowners are studying various technical solutions to decarbonise the sector. To date, although many solutions have been devised, few have been implemented; we are still very much at the beginning of this transition.

A real step forward for more responsible shipping
It was in this context that Canopée, the first hybrid industrial vessel equipped with collapsible wings, was conceived. The combination of diesel propulsion and wind assistance on a cargo ship of this size (121 m long and 22 m wide) marks a real step forward in the decarbonisation strategy for industrial shipping. With its four wings, the ship aims for a reduction in fuel consumption of on average around 30%, therefore also reducing its associated CO2 footprint.

An opportunistic approach that meets commercial challenges
Wind assistance allows the use of the wind – a natural and unlimited resource – as a lever for reducing the environmental footprint of the vessel and thus contributes to the development of more responsible maritime transport. This “opportunistic” rather than “restrictive” approach meets environmental challenges without conflicting with commercial ones as this approach does not affect the ship’s performance.

Canopée: a wealth of expertise working towards a common goal.

“Alone we go faster, together we go further”.
This proverb “alone we go faster, together we go further” perfectly illustrates the collective intelligence with which this project has been carried out. The Canopée adventure is first and foremost about pooling needs, visions, expertise, and the desire for change in the service to a common goal: moving the yardstick to protect our environment.

Chronology of a common adventure:
This major project took 6 years to complete.

The impulse

This adventure began in 2018 following a tender issued by ArianeGroup. As part of the Ariane 6 project, and with a clear desire to find a competitive and environmentally-friendly logistics solution, the Franco-German aerospace group opened a consultation to find a commercial operator capable of meeting this expectation.

The innovative idea
The naval architecture firm VPLP Design, well known in the world of yachting and ocean race, and the company Zéphyr & Borée, a pioneer in modern sailing freight transport, decided to propose an innovative ro-ro vessel using wings to reduce fossil fuel consumption: the concept was born!
Jifmar Offshore Services, known for its innovative, tailor-made projects, has put its know-how at the forefront of this vision. To make this concept a reality, Jifmar Offshore Services brought its expertise as a shipowner, its experience in fleet management and the financial solidity required for such a project.

Making-it happen
Jifmar Offshore Services and Zéphyr & Borée have joined forces to carry out this pioneering project, giving rise to the Alizés joint venture. As a result, they won the ArianeGroup tender in 2019. Today, Alizés operates the vessel commercially (charterer) and is responsible for logistics operations on behalf of ArianeGroup.

Jifmar Offshore Services is a shipowner offering integrated industrial marine solutions. With a fleet of more than 45 vessels, the group operates in the defence, energy, telecommunications, aquaculture and civil engineering sectors. Jifmar Guyane, the owner of this hybrid vessel, is fully in line with the group’s decarbonisation and innovation strategy. It is based on identifying and using the most appropriate energy for the operating conditions of each vessel.

Zéphyr & Borée designs and markets low-carbon shipping solutions combining wind propulsion, speed reduction and the use of alternative fuels. It is one of the pioneers of modern sailing freight transport. The ship Canopée is a perfect illustration of Zéphyr & Borée’s desire to take concrete action to change the energy model for ships in order to decarbonise maritime transport.

Jean-Michel Berud, Chairman of Alizés and General Director of Jifmar Offshore Services : « Our group differentiates itself by putting its expertise and know-how at the service of innovative, made-to-measure projects. Innovation is part of Jifmar’s DNA, and Canopée is an emblematic project for us. It allows us to challenge ourselves and reaffirm our position as a pioneer, while at the same time working to promote one of our group’s core values: decarbonisation and, more generally, respect for our environment. We’re proud to be part of this move towards a more responsible maritime world ».

Nils Joyeux, CEO of Alizés et General Director of Zéphyr & Borée: « There are only three solutions for reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) in maritime transport: reducing ship speed, using synthetic fuels and using wind propulsion. We are convinced that this last solution can play a major role in decarbonising maritime transport. For the past 7 years, we have been developing wind-powered ship projects like the Canopée, to demonstrate the relevance of this solution and encourage the entire industry to use it. We are very proud to be working with our partners on this world first ».

The realisation
For this large-scale project, the teams of the shipowners Jifmar Guyane and Alizés have chosen to call on Dutch expertise by entrusting the construction of the vessel to the Neptune Marine Projects B.V shipyard, renowned for its reliability and expertise in innovative projects.

The design of Canopée is the result of a joint effort by the Jifmar, Alizés and Neptune Marine Projects B.V. teams. Based on the preliminary design and hybrid performance prediction carried out by the architectural firm VPLP Design, Neptune, assisted by its engineering firm Groot Ship Design, carried out the detailed design and construction of the vessel.

The combined expertise of these players has made it possible to launch the detailed design of the vessel (at the end of 2020) and its construction (keel laying in February 2021) all the way through to its delivery at the end of 2022.

December 2022: a first step has been crossed
Despite a complicated world context, the vessel was delivered on schedule in December 2022.

On 27 December 2022, this hybrid cargo ship made her very first rotation to Kourou. The aim of this first crossing was also to carry out a series of sea trials to qualify the port infrastructures and the future Canopée sea route.

July 2023 : a new step forward
The final stage in completing the construction of this vessel took place in July 2023 with the installation of the wings.

Canopée has been fitted with its 4 Oceanwings® – automated, collapsible and patented composite vertical wings. With a height of 37m and a surface area of 363m2 each, these wings make Canopée the most advanced ship in the world in terms of hybrid wind propulsion since it has been entirely designed and optimised with this in mind. The wings consist of two flaps, one forward and one aft. These wings allow two main adjustments. Firstly, the angle of incidence of the wings, which turn 360 degrees in relation to the wind and the rear flap, which can pivot around the secondary mast to create a camber in relation to the front flap. The wings generate far more power than conventional sails or single-element wings.

Founded in 2018, AYRO is a French industrial start-up with headquarters in Paris and a factory in the Blainville-sur-Orne port area of Caen, benefiting from direct access to the sea. AYRO is bringing together more than 50 passionate men and women with a wide range of expertise.

Marc Van Peteghem, Co-fondador d’AYRO and VPLP Design : “This very first delivery of Oceanwings 363 is an important milestone for AYRO, enabling us to pioneer wind propulsion systems for commercial vessels using wingsail segment technology. After five years of intense research and development, I’m delighted with this first installation, which should call for more!”

Romain Grandsart, General Director d’AYRO “The launch of Canopée marks a turning point for shipping. Climate emergency is no longer in doubt, Oceanwings® is a mature, highly efficient solution optimized for the constraints of sailors and the weather conditions, enabling for the first time true automated hybridization of ship propulsion, with reductions in fuel consumption of up to 50%”.

August 2023 : spreads its wings
After a phase of trials, first alongside the quayside and then at sea, the performance and technical aspects of the wings were tested. The ship is now ready to begin her rotations from European ports to Kourou in French Guiana. For 6 years, this project has involved around a hundred people. Now a new chapter is about to begin, involving two crews of more than a dozen people to carry out ArianeGroup’s logistics transport on two continents in Europe and South America. ArianeGroup’s commitment to a 15-year contract provided the necessary visibility and financing for such an innovation. The aerospace group is Canopée’s sole customer, but with its agreement, the shipowner has the possibility of carrying out shipments for other customers in order to optimise the use of the boat according to the ARIANE 6 schedule.

More information www.ayro.fr