Wind is a primary renewable energy that is free at point of use, abundant and exclusively available giving the vessel better commercial and operational autonomy. IWSA members are clear in their message that the tool box of clean technologies available to shipping today can help deliver upon the decarbonisation goals of keeping world temperatures to as close to 1.5C as possible, as outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Gavin Allwright, IWSA Secretary, said:

“We have been working together with a wide range of technology providers, pioneering ship owners, design and research experts and policy makers all sharing the goal of enabling sustained and deep reductions in GHG emissions in the industry. The debate has shifted profoundly from one where there was doubt that we have the tools to do the job, to one where that is acknowledged, but the scaling of those low carbon technologies and fuel options is a matter of choice.”

IWSA members are developing a wide range of wind propulsion technologies, with Flettner Rotors or Rotor Sails now in commercial use on three vessels, with the addition of three more by the end of the 2018, including vessels in the bulker, roro, passenger ferry, tanker and general cargo segments, already delivering between 5-15% fuel and emissions savings.

Hard sail, soft sail and kite technologies are also either in commercial use or undergoing final development testing and sea trials, and these will soon be followed by further suction wing, hull form and turbine developments. Mr. Allwright added:

We hope that the policy makers in the committee rooms at IMO this week recognise that they have a choice, ‘business-as-usual’ or embracing the huge GHG savings available from primary renewables such as wind propulsion and secondary renewable fuels and the uptake of other clean technology and design. These make the Paris Agreement goals both achievable and commercially desirable.

The shipping industry is already starting to embrace the opportunities that commercial wind propulsion provides. Earlier this week, it was announced that Viking Grace will start her first voyage as the only passenger ship in the world equipped with a Rotor Sail to use wind propulsion, able to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions by up to 900 tonnes annually.