The project is in line with Renault's environmental strategy in the aim of reducing its carbon footprint by 25% between 2010-2022, with a 6% target for its supply chain versus 2016.

Groupe Renault’s objective is to reduce the environmental impact of each vehicle throughout its entire life cycle, from parts transportation up to delivery and end-of-life processing. In the context of our strategy to explore new sustainable mobility solutions and to continue along the road to reducing our carbon footprint, the solution designed by NEOLINE, which combines energy efficiency and operational relevance, has truly captured our attention,

...said Jean-Philippe Hermine, Vice President, Strategic Environmental Planning Groupe Renault.

Neoline is developing its industrial-scale wind-powered freight services that are cleaner, customized and competitive, in response to the logistical needs of shippers, while creating a maritime transport solution addressing current environmental challenges.

Led by a team of maritime professionals, this shipowner project has culminated in the design of a commercial demo with the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90% through the use of wind power primarily, combined with a cost-cutting speed and optimized energy mix, compared to a traditional cargo ship on an equivalent route.

The demo, a 136-meter ro-ro ship and 4200 square meters 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 setting the bar for 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 & Miquelon.

Considering that the traditional sea freight accounts for nearly 3% of CO2 emissions in Europe, NEOLINE aims to build an innovative French solution to address a global environmental challenge while remaining within an industrial and competitive framework, with the support from its partners,

...added Jean Zanuttini, CEO of NEOLINE.

"We are delighted to see this news and congratulate Groupe Renault on taking this decisive step towards a fully decarbonised supply chain with these well designed primary wind propulsion vessels. This development is great news for the Neoline team, but also for wind propulsion innovators as a whole with cargo owners and ship operators increasingly considering wind propulsion as a viable, cost effective low carbon option for their fleets. We can't wait to see these vessels launched and operational in the not too distant future."  stated Gavin Allwright, Secretary General of the International Windship Association (IWSA)

Previously, in an exclusive interview with SAFETY4SEA, Mr. Gavin Allwright noted that industry has realized wind propulsion is a realistic choice for a more sustainable future, referring to the existing wind assisted marine projects.