Last Thursday we got to see the full-scale prototype of the Sidewind project, which will be used in research for the utilization of wind energy for ships. The solution developed by Sidewind aims to reduce the use of fossil fuels in sea transport and reduce emissions from ships. Wind turbine installed in open 40-foot containers will harness crosswinds to generate electricity. It will be possible to stack multiple turbine-containers on each ship and produce an estimated 5-30% of the ships´ energy needs. Sidewind has a long development history and after years of work on design and construction, a full-scale prototype is now ready and will be tested at Samskip in the coming months.
Three years ago, Óskar Svavarsson came to Fab Lab Reykjavik and talked to Arnar about a "crazy" idea he had in mind. The idea was that wind energy would power a fleet of ships instead of fossil fuels. What was unique about the concept is that it would allow container ships that sail on fossil fuels to start the energy transition. Therefore, the old fleet continues to be used, but with an improved energy source. Sidewind is a wind turbine located in an open forty foot container and thus utilizes the side wind. Side wind on ships is energy that is generally wasted, but is used here to produce electricity.
Arnar has never been afraid of crazy ideas, so work began on him realizing and creating the first tangible Sidewind model. Óskar came to the Fab Lab with a video that showed what he was thinking, but to continue, he needed a three-dimensional model of the idea so that tests could be done. Arnar and Óskar worked together for about a week to perfect the 3D drawing and 3d print a testable model. The model enabled Óskar and María to run forward with the idea, now it was possible to take the sideways windmill to a wind tunnel and make measurements. The tests went beyond expectations and made it possible to apply for further development grants. However, the development of a full-scale prototype has taken a long time, and the development was first carried out in a smaller model. Finally, a large development grant was obtained, and now three years later, the prototype has reached full size.
Green innovation requires the industry to change, so the infrastructure to develop concrete ideas needs to be in place. It is difficult to obtain development grants that support the development of tangible solutions (i.e. Hardware solutions), but such solutions are necessary to start a green energy transformation in industry.
The development process has been in progress since 2018 and we are proud that the first version of the prototype in a smaller version was created here in Fab Lab Reykjavík, which was used to measure the efficiency of the sideways wind-turbine. Sidewind was nominated for Samorka's innovation award 2021 and now tests and measurements begin in a container shipping area on land before the turbine is placed on a cargo ship and tested in real conditions.
An interview with Óskar Svavarsson on RÚV about the Sidewind project can be seen here.