Wind wins the Heyerdahl Award 2023

Wallenius Wilhelmsen's Orcelle Wind has been awarded the Heyerdahl award 2023. The award was presented to the winner by Thor Heyerdahl jr. at the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association's annual conference in Oslo on 21 March. The Expert Committee believes that Orcelle Wind, which will use wind as propulsion, may become a game changer for future emission-free shipping. 

Wallenius Wilhelmse won the Heyerdahl Award

- The winner of this year's Heyerdahl Award is a company that over time has shown that they take green transition seriously. The project they are developing has the potential to sail emission free on an energy source that is free of charge, with no climate footprint, without the need for complicating infrastructure and without competing for energy with other land-based industry, it says in the Expert Committee's reasoning. 

- We have great ambitions for how we bring the company and the industry into a net-zero emission free future. We are very happy and honoured to be receiving this award. It is a clear symbol that Wallenius Wilhelmsen is on the right path. It is also a great motivation for continuing the work to realize this project, says CEO at Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Lasse Kristoffersen.  

Orcelle Wind will be a wind-powered car and truck carrier that will be able to achieve up to 90 percent reduced emissions on one single sailing, compared to today's most efficient vessels. The ship will be 220 meters long and have capacity of more than 7,000 cars. Orcelle Wind is the first vessel from the Oceanbird concept developed by Wallenius Marine. The technology will be tested on an existing ship in 2024. Earlier this year, the EU Horizon announced that they support the project with Euro nine million. 

Head of the Expert Committee, Paul-Christian Rieber, says the committee hopes the award will be an inspiration and motivation for the development of the project. 

- If we are to succeed in developing emission-free shipping, we need shipping companies that make brave choices and dare to take the lead in developing this type of technology. When many industries are to compete for green energy, wind will undoubtedly have to be part of the energy mix in the future of emission-free shipping. Wallenius Wilhelmsen is a company with a long history and big climate ambitions. If they succeed with this project, it will have ripple effects for the entire industry. We hope the award may help push Orcelle Wind even closer to the finishing line, he says. 

Thor Heyerdahl Jr. says the award is in keeping with his father's spirit. 

- My father crossed all three world oceans with prehistoric vessels, wooden rafts, and reed boats, with no other means of propulsion than what nature gave him with wind and current. And it was completely emission-free, without leaving a trace! He would be delighted that Wallenius Wilhelmsen's Orcelle Wind has now been awarded the maritime environmental award that carries his name. As his son and as an oceanographer, I know he would have been very happy about this award.  

The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association is the secretariat for the Heyerdahl Award, which was established in 1999 by Thor Heyerdahl and the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association. The Heyerdahl Award is presented every other year to candidates from the maritime industry that contribute to an improved global environment. 

The Expert Committee 2023 

Paul Christian Rieber, former President of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association and CEO GC Rieber 
Thor Heyerdahl jr.  
Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping 
Guy Platten, Secretary General International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) 
Kristin Halvorsen, Director of Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO) 
Tuva Flagstad-Andersen, Regional Manager DNV 
Sigurd Enge, Maritime Manager Bellona 
Sveinung Oftedal, Senior Adviser Ministry of Climate and Environment, Norway