Faculty Advisor

Bergstrom, Torbjorn Stansen


A demonstration platform was created for a potential startup venture to show the feasibility of adding multiple wing sails to cargo ships. Ship crews are wary of other green solutions that increase fuel economy by using kites or shipboard windmills because of perceived danger in the varied conditions at sea. Retrofitting bulk carriers with wing sails was assisted by creating a platform to study practical control systems, hull modifications, sail shapes, maneuvers, and efficiency. An autonomous sail position control method was developed that integrated a microprocessor, a wind direction sensor, a boat orientation sensor, and an anemometer. The microprocessor actively adjusts sails to minimize the energy used for propulsion to cut carbon emissions and save money for operators.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2010


Mechanical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering