Bound4blue is a nine-year-old wind-assisted propulsion system (WAPS) developer. The new capital will be used to advance the development and roll-out of the company’s eSAIL, a suction sail based on technology that is said to be significantly more efficient than other sail-based systems.
The equity investors, headed by GTT and with the participation of the European Innovation Council, are Shift4Good, Louis Dreyfus Company Ventures, the Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Sun Returns, and Kai Capital.
They join existing investors including the Ocean Born Foundation and the Centre for the Development of Technology and Innovation. The company’s other shareholders include historic investors, institutions, and private Spanish individuals.
The company claims that its technology is suitable for a wide range of ship types including bulk carriers, tankers, LNG carriers, general cargo vessels, ro-ro units, ferries and cruise ships. The sails are easy to install, require minimum maintenance, and can offer a payback period of less than five years, depending on ship type and operational profile, bound4blue says.
The Spanish firm is in the process of collaborating with manufacturers of wind turbines in various parts of the world. The production technologies are similar and these arrangements could lead to a broad distribution network within a short timeframe.
The company’s CEO, José Miguel Bermúdez, commented: “We’re delighted to welcome the new investors on board. Their wealth of knowledge and expertise in shipping and financing represents a momentous step that will steer our company towards even greater development and global expansion. With their support, we’ll continue steadfast in our mission to drive the decarbonisation of the shipping sector, making wind propulsion a standard on ships.”
Commenting for GTT, Chairman and CEO Philippe Berterottière said: “Through its VC fund GTT Strategic Ventures, the GTT group is proud to support the development of bound4blue which contributes, through its unique wind-assisted propulsion technologies, to meeting the challenges of decarbonising maritime transport. With our co-investors, we will enthusiastically support a talented and committed management team towards building a sustainable maritime world.”
Max Clegg, head of Louis Dreyfus Company Ventures, stated: “As a major dry bulk operator, Louis Dreyfus Company is proud to support bound4blue’s efforts to contribute to shipping industry decarbonisation. We believe the company’s wind-assisted propulsion systems will play an important role in reducing our fleet emissions and contribute to a more sustainable maritime industry overall.”
The announcement of the successful funding round comes just a few days after chemical tanker owner, Odfjell, announced plans to install an eSAIL on one of its vessels which, Seatrade Maritime News understands, is likely to be the 49,999 dwt Bow Orion, built in 2019. The installation is scheduled for completion next year.
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