Achieving sustainable transportation is one of the major pillars of the global energy transition. During the 2021 GREEN4SEA Virtual Forum held back in April, speakers from the 13th panel focused on the key benefits of exploring wind as an alternative energy option.
ollowing the release of a 2017 EU-commissioned report which predicted up to 10,000 wind propulsion installations within the next decade alone, panelists offered their point of view upon the matter. With many companies already engaged with the testing and the installation of wind propulsion systems, Gavin Allwright, Secretary General, International Windship Association (IWSA) explained that this alternative source of energy has the potential to enhance the path towards decarbonization.
“Pressure to swiftly decarbonise international shipping is growing from all sides. The roll out of new low carbon fuel systems will take considerable time and resources. Wind gives us the unique opportunity to deliver up to a third of the fleet’s propulsion energy requirements without the need for new infrastructure, right now.”... Allwright noted.
In fact, he highlighted that around 5-20% of the ship’s energy can be provided by wind propulsion, while wind propulsion systems help ship owners and operators reduce carbon emissions by up to 30% for retrofit solutions and significantly higher for optimized newbuild ships.
According to Mr. Allwright, all ships designed and built today must operate in a net zero emissions world at the end of their service life. As informed, by the end of Q1/Q2 2021, 13 ocean going vessels with wind-assist systems will be installed while many more installations are taking place. In total, more WPT vessels will be in operation than all new alternative fueled ships combined, excluding tankers & LNG.
In addition, Prof. Dr-Ing Orestis Schinas, Partner, HHX.blue, marked that current regulatory requirement on air quality and emissions dictate hybrid propulsion solutions. While diverse propulsion requirements lead in diverse combinations and decisions on fuels and main engines. “Wind technology has high maturity and a wide range of available systems. At the same time, wind-assisted technologies are already tested in actual operation and can save >10% of fuel consumption”…he noted.
In turn, Joe Plunkett, Senior Engineer, Anemoi Marine Technologies, presented the role of Rotor Sail technology, summarizing that such technology reduces fuel consumption and the release of harmful emissions into the atmosphere.
Both fuel and emissions can see a reduction of up to 30%, making rotor sails an effective, sustainable solution for today’s shipping industry.
In his presentation, Martial Claudepierre, Global Market Leader Sustainable Shipping, Bureau Veritas marked that the industry is heading back towards its roots with the rise of wind-assisted propulsion. As explained, distinctly different from mechanical propulsion, wind-assisted technology comes in the form of rotating sails, kite sails and rigid sails installed onboard. While these are primarily used for large yachts today, marine stakeholders are looking to expand the application of sails to cargo and containerships soon.
However, now, ships using sails for propulsion face two key challenges.
- The first is technical, as ships need to be fitted with weather routing technology that enables the vessel to change direction along with the wind.
- The second is regulatory, as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) lacks rules and guidance for sail-assisted ships, and has yet to provide clear calculation and verification methods for assessing carbon reduction for the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI).
In addition, Mr. Martial Claudepierre noted that there is no single solution that will decarbonize the entire global fleet since it will take a mix of alternative propulsion, clean fuels and ship optimization.
Wind, solar and nuclear power, sails and kites, and fuel cells all have a role to play, and marine stakeholders will need to determine which technologies work best for which vessels.
Overall, panelists agreed that wind propulsion offers the following:
- technically and commercially viable near-term solution that can already save 5% to- 20%.
- cost-effective, not depending on alterations to port infrastructure.
- improved operational autonomy in mitigating the risks and uncertainties of being commercially dependent on other alternative fuels.
- assists the global fleet in reducing net emissions in the short-term, reducing the carbon-intensity of the whole fleet, and better enable the meeting of IMO GHG reduction targets.
- wind technology solutions are increasingly available today
- most wind-systems are fully automated and integrated into the energy management systems of the ships
- can be deployed either as wind-assist for primarily motor vessels or as a primary propulsor for newly built ships outfitted with auxiliary engines.
View the 2021 GREEN4SEA Virtual Forum Panel 13 herebelow