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Ground-breaking retractable ship bow foils for unbeatable cost-saving, emission reduction and motion stabilization


Medium-size ships navigating in waves suffer up to 100% higher resistance than in calm water. This added resistance has several
consequences: 1) dramatic speed loss, 2) increase of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, and 3) dangerous roll (side to side) and
pitch (up and down) movement that causes seasickness and decreases crew productivity. Adding wings or foils to a ship bow can use wave energy to propel the ship forward and damp roll and pitch motions, stabilizing the ship. However, navigating with bow foils is counterproductive in certain situations, such as in calm or extreme weather, where the foils increase the ship resistance. A retraction and storage mechanism for the foils in these situations is desired, but until now no practical solution had been developed for bow foils retraction.

We, at Wavefoil, have developed the first ever retractable bow foils. Combining the use of strong and flexible composite materials with an
innovative and patent-pending vertical retraction mechanism, we have developed the first and only retractable bow foil modules that fit the narrow bow of any vessel. Our bow foils: 1) reduce the energy consumed to propel the ship by 5-20%, 2) reduce pitch and roll motion, promoting a more comfortable and productive trip, 3) can be retracted/deployed to optimize the ship performance for any given situation. Our unique foil retraction system allows, for the first time ever, to exploit the full range of benefits of bow foils. The SmartWings project aims to mature and bring to market a unique solution for ship stabilization and forward thrust for medium-size ships. The retractable foils will become our gold-standard product and will boost Wavefoil growth, generating €75m profits and 26 new job positions by 2027. In this time, commercialization will save 1,097k tonnes of CO2(eq) emissions and €179m for global shipping. Zero-emission ships are facilitated as they will need less reserve battery capacity to traverse rough seas.

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/renewable energy/hydroelectricity/marine energy/wave power

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

SME-2b - SME Instrument (grant only and blended finance)


Havnegata 7
7010 Trondheim
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
€ 2 110 092,25