Teijin developing sails for cargo ships in Wind Challenger Project

The small-scale sails are made of a foamed core material sandwiched between glass fiber-reinforced plastics.

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GH Craft Ltd., the Teijin Group’s (Tokyo, Japan) composite structure design development and evaluation unit, is designing and producing sails for the Wind Challenger Project, an industry-university joint research project.

The project, jointly launched in October 2009 by the University of Tokyo and Japanese shipping companies, is promoting the development of rigid but retractable sails that will harness wind-power to enable cargo ships to reduce their fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The sails envisioned for actual use are expected to measure 50m by 20m, or 1,000m2 in area.

The company provided small-scale sails measuring 20m by 8m for on-land testing in Nagasaki, Japan beginning in January 2014. The small-scale sails are made of a foamed core material sandwiched between glass fiber reinforced plastics. The test vessel will have five 15m-high retractable sails.

Since its foundation in 1970, GH Craft has been dedicated to developing advanced-composite large-scale structures, including sails for America's Cup and wind power generation. Going forward, the company will increasingly focus on transportation solutions for the automotive, marine, rail and aerospace fields.