Saving Fuel to Save the Planet

Bound4blue is an innovative Spanish start-up developing wind-assisted propulsion technologies to reduce the fuel consumption and pollutant emissions of the shipping industry. The idea behind the solution came to Jose Miguel, co-founder and CEO, completely by chance while watching a documentary with his father.

The shipping industry is responsible for about 3 per cent of greenhouse emissions worldwide. It certainly is a staggering amount of emissions, though it sounds pretty mild when considering that roughly 90 per cent of all traded goods are moved by sea. All in all, the process results in about 300m metric tons of fossil fuel per year, equivalent to 1bn metric tons of carbon dioxide, equalling the annual carbon emissions of Japan.

Consequently, it goes without saying that tackling emissions within the shipping industry can make a huge difference in the fight against climate change, and it comes as no surprise that the industry itself is set to eliminate those carbon emissions by 2050, so as to stay in line with the Paris agreement. But how do we get there?


Of course there’s no single solution. But sometimes in order to take a step forward we must first take a few steps back, turning to the oldest possible way of traveling by sea: wind propulsion.

But there’s a twist, because bound4blue’s sails look nothing like what we’re used to seeing in movies or sporting competitions. Instead, they resemble tall white pillars, or pristine chimney stacks whose purpose is to mitigate 30 per cent of CO2 released into the atmosphere.

“What we call wind-assisted propulsion systems, which is a very fancy way of saying sail… All the extra propulsion you’re getting from the wind you can remove from the main engine.”

Bound4blue is one of the many start-ups to have gone through the Maritime ClimAccelerator programme, and as Cristina Muñoz pointed out during her interview, having a lifetime cycle assessment of their technology proved essential in marketing their products, as “climate change needs to go hand in hand with economic impact,” so that big players in the industry are willing to pay for it.

The start-up is now one of over 70 portfolio companies backed by EIT Climate-KIC. As an impact investor, we offer the most promising Stage 2 ClimAccelerator start-ups funding and support services in exchange for future equity.

Climate SAFE is a special kind of Advanced Subscription Agreement delivered through the ClimAccelerator programme; a combination of cash and in-kind support including fast-track access to relevant EU funding opportunities, a dedicated portfolio manager, exclusive access to the ClimAccelerator marketplace and a wide variety of tools and resources, beyond the tailored training and mentorship delivered by our local delivery partners.

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