Key wind-assist propulsion installation starts North Sea operations
Spijk, Netherlands
During the docking of the MV Ankie of Jan van Dam Shipping in January 2020 at the Royal Niestern Sander shipyard, the first retrofit eConowind Ventifoil® wind-assist system was installed, six months after signing the contract. “The good and close cooperation between eConowind, Van Dam Shipping and Niestern Sander resulted in a pioneering project, which was completed within the planned installation period”, states Bart Volgers.

The modular Ventifoil® units are in the form of wings with vents and an internal fan that use boundary layer suction for maximum effect. This installation features two, 10-meter wings that will generate significant force allowing the vessel to reduce motor power and thus save energy. In a second step, the units will be extended by a further six meters.

Installation of Ventifoil® units at Royal Niestern Sander Shipyard on MV Ankie

The 3,600 DWT general cargo vessel MV Ankie, made its first voyage with the two wings installed, sailing for Wagenborg from Delfzijl to Hamburg, onwards to Norway and then back to Rotterdam.
Wagenborg states: “We take active part in the shipping industry’s de-carbonizing energy transition. Together with our stakeholders, such as our affiliated captain owners, clients, investors, employees and suppliers, we accept sustainability challenges to reduce our environmental footprint. We are happy Jan van Dam, who has been sailing for Wagenborg over 26 years now, picked up the glove resulting in this Ventifoil project.”

For eConowind BV, located in Groningen, the Netherlands, it is the first commercial installation of their Ventifoil® system. The wind-assist system was developed over the past three years supported by an EU backed grant and this first voyage marks a significant milestone for the company in bringing their technology to a shipping market eager to deploy credible decarbonization solutions.

The maiden voyage of the Ankie using the 2 Ventifoil® units sailing on a trip for Wagenborg.

RINA carried out the design approval, foil production and construction supervision together with the commissioning protocol preparation. “This project fits perfectly with the strong focus RINA has on innovative technologies that contribute to an environmentally friendlier shipping industry” commented Pino Spadafora, EMEA Marine Commercial Director at RINA.

This first voyage is a big step for Jan van Dam, who has been hoping to combine modern shipping with wind propulsion for almost 40 years. “We expect to show in the WASP-research project this first step will be economically feasible. We are hoping to set the next steps as well in a new-to-build ship in the coming years, getting step-by-step into low and even zero emission shipping” Jan van Dam states.

The WASP (Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion) project is funded by the Interreg North Sea Europe program, part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and brings together universities and wind-assist technology providers with ship owners to research, trial and validate the operational performance of a selection of wind propulsion solutions.

“We are confident that such an innovative company as van Dam Shipping will manage to get the most out of the system and we are really excited to share the results in the coming months.” stated Frank Nieuwenhuis, CEO of eConowind.

Both eConowind and van Dam Shipping are convinced the Ventifoil® units will give significant savings and thus be an important solution to help shipping reach the IMO decarbonization goals for 2030 and 2050. Ends


eConowind BV

eConowind offers and provides wind assisted propulsion to seagoing ships. Ventifoil® units can be containerized inside a 40ft container or fixed to a vessel so the size of the foils are not limited to container dimensions.
The Ventifoil® is a wing shaped element using modern innovations in aerodynamics creating high propelling force relative to its size. Smart suction is integrated in the wing, resulting in double the force of the Ventifoil®, while reefing when needed.
Media contact: Frank Nieuwenhuis
Address: Leonard Springerlaan 9, 9727 KB Groningen, Netherlands.

Van Dam Shipping
Van Dam Shipping, is a family-run business which owns and operates eight vessels. The area of operation is mainly in North-West Europe, six of these vessels are suitable for use in the Saimaakanaal in Finland, their specialty. The company operates a modern fleet with mainly Dutch officers.
Media contact: Mr. Jan van Dam
Address: Hoofdweg Noord 34, 9909 AD Spijk (GN), Netherlands

Royal Niestern Sander
RNS is a versatile and innovative shipyard. We design, build, maintain and repair ships. Also, we are specialized in often complex customer-oriented ship conversions.
Royal Niestern Sander is a 100% Dutch shipyard. We are a versatile, strong and modern yard. We also have our own workshop. With over 100 years of knowledge and experience, Royal Niestern Sander can count itself among the best shipyards in the Northern Netherlands.
Media contact: Mr. Bart Volgers
Address: Venjelaan 6, 9936 BR Farmsum the Netherlands
+31 596 649 400

RINA Services S.p.A.
RINA provides a wide range of services across the Energy, Marine, Certification, Transport & Infrastructure and Industry sectors. With a turnover in 2018 of 440 million Euros, over 3,900 employees and 200 offices in 70 countries worldwide, RINA is a member of key international organizations and an important contributor to the development of new legislative standards.
Media contact: Mr. Pino Spadafora <> Address: Blaak 508, 3011 TA Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
+31 10 414 7444

Founded in 1898, Royal Wagenborg is an international maritime logistics conglomerate. The family owned and managed company offers a variety of maritime services with regard to shipping, ports & terminals and offshore services. Managed out of the Delfzijl (NL) headquarters, Wagenborg has built a global commercial network. With about 3,000 employees, Wagenborg serves clients predominantly in the Baltic, northwest Europe, the Mediterranean, the Americas and the Far East.
Media contact: Mr. Guus van der Linde <
Address: Marktstraat 10, 9934CK Delfzijl
+31 596636342

WASP Project
The WASP (Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion) project, funded by the Interreg North Sea Europe programme, part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to the tune of €5.4 million.. The project brings together universities, wind-assist technology providers with ship owners to research, trial and validate the operational performance of a selection of wind propulsion solutions thus enabling wind propulsion technology market penetration and contributing to a greener North Sea transport system through harvesting the regions abundant wind potential. This fully aligns with the wider programmes’ objective of promoting the development and adoption of products, services and processes to accelerate the greening of the North Sea Region.
For further information:
Danitsja van Heusden-van Winden, WASP Project Leader
NL Maritime Technology Foundation
+31 (0)88 44 51 035
Media Contact:
Gavin Allwright, WASP Work Package Leader: Communication
International Windship Association