French wind-powered start-up Airseas based in the Chantenay port district of Nantes is building a new research and development center in Morocco to continue development of its Seawing kite system.
It was in Dakhla, a place known for the practice of kite-surfing and windsurfing due to the constant winds throughout the year, that the company founded in 2016 by former aeronautical engineers from Airbus chose to establish a test center for its automated drag wings for ships.
The site must allow testing of its sail system in different wind conditions, to follow tests more frequently and to improve flight dynamics and thrust.
The 2,400 m² hangar and advanced test bench in Dakhla will allow the company to work on the large-scale production of the technology, planned for 2025, by providing space to test its kites and individual components in an area with a continuous flow of stable winds.
Vincent Bernatets, CEO of Airseas, said in a statement that this investment represents a long-term commitment to the development of the technology: “This comes at a crucial time, as transport is under increasing pressure from regulators, investors and its customers to reduce its environmental impact.”
“We are convinced that wind power will play a central role in this transition, now and in the long term. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, there is no time to wait and that is why we are working tirelessly to advance our Seawing system to the final stages of testing.” he continued.
Testing at the new center will take place onshore and offshore, and the company said Dakhla was chosen to allow Airseas to conduct a range of trials on a daily basis.
The Seawing is a large kite that flies 300m above sea level to provide wind propulsion for ships and reduce the load on the main engine to reduce fuel consumption and therefore gas emissions.