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Wavefoil is reducing fuel consumption with retractable bow foils

Published 18 Oct 2022 (updated 29 Apr 2024) · 2 min read

Quick information

At a glance

  • Strong, flexible and retractable bow foils
  • Reduce vessel fuel consumption and vessel motion by up to 15%
  • Reduce vessel motion in high-speed vessels by up to 30%

Wavefoil’s retractable bow foils help to reduce fuel consumption in ships by up to 15 per cent, as well as increase comfort on board.

Additional resistance due to waves can cause significant speed losses in ships and a dramatic increase in fuel consumption of up to 50 per cent or more. In addition, crew and passengers may experience discomfort in rough seas.

The design of the hull cannot completely solve this problem. A slender bow will make sailing smoother but will not dampen the ship’s pitch motion. On the other hand, while the addition of retractable roll stabiliser fins midship on large vessels will dampen roll motion, it will not reduce fuel consumption.

Furthermore, although bow foils can significantly improve fuel efficiency and onboard comfort, unless they are retractable, they will increase resistance in calm waters and be vulnerable to damage in extreme wave conditions.

Retractable bow foils for ships

Wavefoil has developed a patent-pending module with retractable bow foils that reduces both fuel consumption and excessive pitch motion. The bow foils have been designed to be stored vertically in the hull and are deployed in a continuous vertical and rotational motion. This enables them to be installed far forward in the bow of a ship, which yields the greatest benefits.

The foils are manufactured from extremely strong fibreglass. This ensures both flexibility and strength, which is important to reducing impact loads on the foils in heavy seas.

A range of vessel types with foil module from Wavefoil.
A range of vessel types with foil module from Wavefoil.

Concrete benefits

Wavefoil’s retractable bow foils can reduce vessel fuel consumption and vessel motion by up to 15 per cent. For high-speed vessels, vessel motion may be reduced by up to 30 per cent, significantly improving comfort on board.

In addition, the company’s retractable bow foils can reduce hull vibration and improve a vessel’s ability to operate at higher speeds using less energy.

Market potential

In 2018, based on a statistic from IHS Marine Portal, Wavefoil estimated that the retractable foil market value could be worth up to NOK 3 billion (or roughly USD 328 million) annually.

Wavefoil’s retractable bow foils are suitable for almost any vessel, with particular benefit for 20 to 200-metre vessels in wave-rich areas. The bow foils can be installed on newbuilds and retrofitted onto existing vessels. The first Wavefoil module was installed on a commercial passenger vessel in September 2019.



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