French tyre manufacturer Michelin has released details of its Wing Sail Mobility (WISAMO) system that could improve a ship’s fuel efficiency by up to 20%.

The result of a joint venture between Michelin Research & Development and two Swiss inventors, the automated, telescopic, inflatable wing sail systems can be fitted on merchant vessels and pleasure craft. It is said to be particularly suitable for roll on roll off ships, bulk carriers and oil and gas tankers. It can be installed on newbuilds or retrofitted on existing ships.

The telescopic mast is retractable, making it easy for a ship to enter harbours and pass under bridges.

Michelin plans to test the system on a merchant ship next year with widespread roll out following a short trial period.