Sustainable Maritime Mobility

Fraunhofer Working Group Sustainable Maritime Mobility: Design, construction, and operation of trendsetting wind propulsion systems

Boosting research and development for sustainable shipping: The foundation of the Fraunhofer Working Group Sustainable Maritime Mobility signals the start of a close collaboration under joint management between the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer and Fraunhofer IWES. The teams in Leer and Bremerhaven are focusing in close coordination on wind propulsion systems, design concepts, and scientific studies for emission-free shipping. The working group provides system-independent research and consulting services on all wind propulsion systems discussed for commercial shipping. The spectrum ranges from Flettner rotors, wing rigs or dyna rigs to membrane sails and classic cloth sails. In the experimental field, the Maritime Experimental Center in Leer forms the central facility of the working group. The unique testing infrastructure at the other IWES locations supplements the validation options in the area of full-scale applications. The many years of experience in the field of offshore wind energy flow into the working group, and synergies are created. The joint methodological focal points are in the fields of maritime hydro- and aerodynamics, automation and systems technology and materials technology. Hybrid model concepts result from the intersection of powerful modeling and simulation with measurement technology both in the laboratory and at sea. One special joint area of expertise lies in the use of crossover and upscaling effects between wind propulsion technology for vessels and classic wind energy systems.

Joint projects:

Investigation of the interaction of Flettner rotors in the wind tunnel of the Maritime Technical Centre of Emden/Leer University of Applied Sciences


Development of a scientific-technological platform for the preparation of the market penetration of Flettner rotors on different types of vessels as a contribution to lower-emission shipping. The FlettnerFLEET joint project aims to further develop Flettner technology in Germany for widespread use in national and international shipping and to contribute to climate protection in shipping with this wind hybrid propulsion system.


ABH, Bureau Veritas, Dirks Elektrotechnik, ECO-Flettner, Fehn Ship Management, HB Hunte Engineering, HSVA, IBK Fibertec, Krey-Schifffahrt, LAIS Nord, MARIKO, NSB Niederelbe Schifffahrtsgesellschaft

More information in the project description "FlettnerFLEET"

Model hull made by 3D printing process


The INNOSegler joint project focuses on the design, including costing, for the construction of a CO2-free passenger and research vessel. The aim of the project is to design an appropriate ship that will be able to accommodate 250 guests and carry out day trips in the sense of public science from a northern German port. In the course of the design process, all relevant data from different types of wind propulsion systems for large vessels will be included in the performance prognosis. Furthermore, the plan is for the ship to be used as a research vessel for 30 scientists on worldwide voyages outside of the tourist season from March to October. The research will focus on optimizing the fully CO2-free alternative propulsion systems, including the high-performance sailing systems. Furthermore, the ship is to become a floating laboratory and demonstrator for highly innovative and sustainable shipbuilding technology from Germany.


BIS Bremerhaven, judel/vrolijk & co design+engineering, Marbos, Siemens Energy Marine

© HSEL Tobias Trapp
Towing tank in the Maritime Technology Centre Leer


The project partners are establishing design principles for a cargo sailing ship with alternative drives to allow greater climate protection in the shipping industry. Because of the current climate protection targets, the shipping industry needs to reduce its emissions too. This can be achieved with hybrid vessels with sail systems and hydrogen-based drives. The “rasant” research project is delivering a corresponding concept which will be made available to shipping companies. Among other things Fraunhofer IWES is responsible for the technical and economic evaluation of different sailing assistance systems in this project.


University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer (project coordination), Flensburg University of Applied Sciences, MARIKO gemeinnützige GmbH

More information in the project description "rasant"