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INDUSTRY ROUND-UP


AYRO (France) Raises €10.5 Million Capital from Ocean Zero (USA), Bpifrance (France)


and Mer Invest (France) AYRO (France) raises €10.5 million capital from Ocean Zero (USA), Bpifrance (France) and Mer Invest (France) to boost the development of its innovating wingsail solution to help decarbonize the maritime transport industry.


AYRO, an industrial start-up that designs and delivers Oceanwings®, a wind propulsion hybrid system for maritime transport, raises €10.5 million capital from Ocean Zero (USA), Bpifrance (France) and Mer Invest (France).


Founded in 2018 by Marc Van Peteghem and Nicolas Sdez as a spin-off of the famous French naval architecture firm VPLP, AYRO designs, manufactures and sells Oceanwings®, a wingsail technology that can decrease fuel consumption on major cargo ships by as much as 45%.


Today, 90% of world trade is carried by the international shipping industry. In 2020, more than 3% of the world’s CO2 emissions were created by cargo ships at sea. Typical container ships consume more than 60,000 gallons of low-grade, high-sulfur fossil fuel per day. As maritime shipping continues to grow, projections call for as much as 17% of all CO2 released into the atmosphere by 2050 will be caused by ships at sea unless significant measures are taken.


The Oceanwings® system can significantly reduce CO2 emissions and help shipping companies comply with new environmental regulations, including the International Maritime Organizations’ regulations that require a reduction in shipping emissions of 45% by 2050.


AYRO’s unique patented technology was originally developed by VPLP Design for the BMW Oracle racing sailboat that won the America’s Cup competition in 2010. Following a prototype from 2017 that tested the Oceanwings concept, two wings were installed on the catamaran “Energy Observer” in 2019. The boat is a floating laboratory that has been sailing around the world for the past 2 years promoting new propulsion technologies with zero harmful emissions. Last year, AYRO signed a major contract for four Oceanwings363® wingsails to be fitted on the ship “Canopée”, a roll-on, roll-off vessel under construction and chartered by ArianeGroup that will be launched next year.


The funds raised in this investment round will be used to boost Oceanwings® development and industrialization, to start up a production facility in Caen-Blainville, Normandy, and to reinforce sales and marketing.


44 www.dockyard-mag.com October 2021


Stephen Petranek, Operating Partner of the lead investor, Ocean Zero fund, says: “Chris Anderson, Curator of the TED Conferences, created Ocean Zero to identify and support new innovative companies that have the potential to be game-changers in reducing maritime CO2 emissions, which are large contributors to climate change. AYRO is exactly such a company, employing world-class leading technology to assist ships at sea in significantly reducing fuel consumption. The AYRO system is simple, proven, computer controlled, and safe. I have long admired Marc Van Peteghem’s brilliance in combining old- fashioned ideas, like wind propulsion, with sophisticated aerodynamics and hydrodynamics, not to mention brilliant software, to help Mother Nature make ships go faster more efficiently. It is an honor and a pleasure to be part of this effort. The day is soon coming when it will be normal to once again see large ships at sea cruising effortless and beautifully along under wind power.”


Jason Bigeard, Investment Director at Bpi France, says: “We were particularly impressed by AYRO’s high-end technology. The environmental impact is a current topic, especially within the maritime industry. Through the ‘Plan


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