Norwegian fisheries firm Liegruppen has unveiled plans to have retractable bow foils -- also known as wings -- mounted on its new pelagic trawlers.

Bow foil technology company Wavefoil is working with Salt Ship Design on a project to install the wings, which are expected to provide better propulsion, increased stability on the high seas and save fuel.

The project needs the support of Enova, a group owned by Norway's Ministry of Climate and the Environment, established to support energy-saving technologies.

It has been known for over 150 years that vessels with foils in the bow can be partly propelled by wave energy.

Foils generate lift when the vessel is moving up and down in waves, and the lift typically has a forward thrust component larger than the drag, Wavefoil notes on its website.

A contract with Liegruppen would mark a milestone as the first commercial contract for large foil modules, Wavefoil General Manager Eirik Bockmann told IntraFish sister publication Tekfisk.

Salt Ship Design CEO Egil Sandvik has been monitoring Wavefoil's progress for quite some time, and in particular its potential for reducing "slamming" -- when the bottom of a vessel rises out from the water and drops (see fact box).


Slamming is the impact of the bottom structure of a ship onto the ocean surface, mainly experienced while sailing through waves, when the bow rises from the water. It can put extremely high loads on vessel structures and is taken into consideration by designers.

"On a fishing boat, slamming is a challenge, and a solution that can reduce the slamming, and save both the environment and crew is good news," he said.

Salt Ship designers are familiar with using new and relatively untested solutions -- particularly those aimed at creating greener operations.

The Libas, delivered to Liegruppen before Easter, was due to be the first vessel in the Norwegian fishing fleet to run on liquified natural gas (LNG), although this propulsion solution system was dropped.