French car maker Renault has announced the signing of a three-year partnership with Nantes startup Neoline to develop a sustainable maritime transport service powered by wind, and to contribute to the environmental management of its logistics chain as nearly 60% of the OEM’s parts and vehicles are transported by sea.
Jean-François Salles, global director, production control, Renault, said, “The partnership with Neoline is the latest example of our supply chain’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint by 6% between 2016 and 2022. For nearly 10 years we have been working to identify the most environmentally sustainable solutions.”
Led by a team of maritime professionals, the project has culminated in the design of a commercial demo with the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90% through use of wind power combined with a cost-cutting speed and optimized energy mix, compared with a conventional cargo ship on an equivalent route.
The demo, a 136m (446ft) ro-ro ship with 4,200m2 (45,208ft2) of sail area, features a blend of technical solutions borrowed from the maritime transport industry, as well as from competitive sailing, in order to make transport more logistically and economically proficient, while also increasing energy efficiency. The objective is to build two ships based on this model and to commission the vessels by 2020-2021 on a pilot route joining Saint-Nazaire, the US Eastern seaboard and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.