Over the last decade, the automotive world has increasingly been striving for more sustainable products and manufacturing, both from vehicle manufacturers and parts and components companies. Hot on the heels of unveiling a race tire crafted from nearly 50% recycled content, the Michelin Group has now revealed an even more ambitious and game-changing endeavor with its Wing Sail Mobility project — or “WISAMO.”
Part of the tire brand’s “Movin’ On” initiative, — as well as a larger push to reduce global maritime transport emissions by at least 50% by 2050 — this advanced sail takes inspiration from aircraft wings and utilizes low-pressure zones in order to increase efficiency and bolster fuel economy by up to 20%. Paired with a telescopic mast, the 1,076 square-foot (100sq-m) sail features an integrated air compressor that inflates the sails and can be retrofitted onto existing ships or built out on new vessels thanks to the WISAMO’s plug-and-play design. Developed by a pair of Swiss inventors, this inflatable sail is also entirely automated, and can adjust itself to optimize how much wind it catches and can even help absorb rough winds in stormy weather — or retract itself entirely should conditions become too stormy. Michelin aims to begin trial runs on commercial ships sometime next year, though for more info on the project you can visit the company’s “Movin’ On” program website linked below.