2016.11.01 until 2019.10.31, extended until 2020.09.30


374,488.45 EUR

Funded by:

European Fund for Regional Development (EFRE),

Lower Saxony, Regional Category Stronger Developed Regions (SER)

Project description

To face the imminent climate change, innovative ships with alternative propulsion systems have to be developed in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To improve efficiency, one option is the use of additional wind propulsion systems. Shipping traffic in coastal areas is of particular interest. On the one hand, the fuel consumption per cargo unit or passenger on smaller coastal vessels is quite high due to scale effects; on the other hand, there is a special interest in reducing harmful emissions in the densely populated coastal regions. The use of regenerative energy through sail propulsion represents a promising perspective. Furthermore, "ship efficiency" is an important issue for shipping companies to keep their fleets competitive, as fuel is the dominant cost factor in ship operation.

At the faculty of Maritime Studies of the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer, Germany, the project “GreenSailer” is conducted to develop a prototype of an innovative cargo glider for coastal shipping and supply of islands, which can fulfill the vision of a "zero emission ship". During the development several already existing sustainable solutions will be integrated into an overall concept in order to design a ship with strong future relevance in detail. For a broad utilization potential of the ship, the following objectives are to be included in the preparation of the ship design and operating concept:

  • Transport of cargo
  • Carriage of passengers
  • Training ship for nautical and technical junior staff
  • Research laboratory for maritime and marine scientific research and internships

In a subsequent second phase of the project, the possibilities for implementation of such a ship will be sought. It is conceivable, that such a ship could be jointly operated as a "lighthouse project" by the maritime industry and marine science colleges and universities as a research, development, and training platform for sustainable shipping and protection of the oceans.

The Project GreenSailer is part of the Competence Center GreenShipping Lower Saxony and has the structure shown. It is divided into a research and a network pillar with the University of Applied Sciences  Emden/Leer and the MARIKO GmbH in Leer as well as the Jade University of Applied Sciences and the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany in Elsfleth.

The project associated committee is advising the design team of the GreenSailer and consists of the following representatives from shipping companies, associations and institutions, research institutes and engineering offices:

  • ABH Ingenieur-Technik GmbH
  • German Shipowners´ Association
  • Briese Schiffahrts GmbH & Co. KG
  • Hartmann Shipping Services Germany GmbH & Co. KG
  • Jade University of Applied Sciences
  • Bremen University of Applied Sciences

The first results are available in German.

The GreenSailer project is suitable for students to write their thesis within a partial aspect. Among still available topics, the following thesises have allready been conducted:

  • Strunk, H.: Untersuchung potentieller Märkte für den Einsatz eines besonders umweltfreundlichen Schiffes mit Segelantrieb im Rahmen des Projektes "Green Sailer". 2016, Bachelor thesis, Leer
  • Besserer, N.: Entwurf von Brückenlayout und Ausstattung für einen innovativen Frachtsegler im Green Sailer Projekt. 2017, Bachelor thesis, Leer
  • Quignon, S.: Design study - Life saving and fire protection equipment for the GreenSailer. 2017, Bachelor thesis, Leer
  • Berthold, R.: Untersuchung der Wirtschaftlichkeit von Großseglern anhand ausgewählter Reisen des SSS „Gorch Fock“. 2017, Bachelor thesis, Leer
  • Boekhoff, C.: Entwicklung einer Methode zur Abschätzung des Einsparpotenzials von Schiffen mit windunterstützten Antrieben unter Verwendung von Schiffs-, Routen- und Wetterdaten. 2017, Bachelor thesis, Leer
  • Koornstra, J.: Konzeptentwurf eines integrierten Verkehrssystems auf Basis von Elektromobilität und regenerativen Energien für Inselstaaten am Beispiel der Marshall Islands. 2018, Bachelor thesis, Leer
  • Sonnenberg, N: Rudder design for a modern coast cargo sailing ship - A study of design models using the GreenSailer as an example. 2019, Bachelor thesis, Leer
  • Jankuhn, P.: Analysis of the reported performance indicators of different wind assisted ship propulsion systems and a proposal of more standarized and pransparent performance indicators. 2019, Bachelor thesis, Leer
  • Lüken, I.: Design of a hybrid propulsion system and a CO2 low-emission power supply for a coast-cargo-sailing-ship. 2019, Bachelor thesis, Leer
  • Schön, F.: Konzept und Gestaltung eines modernen Lastenseglers unter ökologischen und ökonomischen Aspekten. 2019, Master thesis, Bremen


Project leader Prof. Michael Vahs
Telefon: 0491 92817-5022
E-Mail: michael.vahs(at)

Vice project leader Prof. Dr. Marcus Bentin
Telefon: 0491-92817-5060
E-Mail: marcus.bentin(at)

Research assistant M. Sc. David Elger
Telefon: 0491-92817-5076
E-Mail: david.elger(at)