Winds of Change: Global Shipping, Decarbonisation & Wind Propulsion
A wide consensus that the global shipping fleet must decarbonize has catalysed over the past 12 months since the Bonn meeting of the UNFCCC COP23 and calls for shipping to move faster on this. We had the IMO initial strategy of at least 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 in April, spurred on further by the recent IPCC 1.5C report calling for 45% reductions by 2030 to avoid the worst climate change scenarios. Against this policy backdrop, a worldwide sulphur cap pending and rising fuel prices, a number of shipping’s innovative first movers have been engaging with wind propulsion technology solutions, viewing these as a significant weapon in the fight to decarbonise.
The International Windship Association (IWSA) has been a leading force in this industry wide wind change in perception, as Gavin Allwright, Secretary General of IWSA states; “We have seen a significant shift in interest and engagement in the industry, for example with Flettner rotors, with four additional vessels installed with this technology this year. With retrofit installations that can deliver; 5,10,20% fuel savings and fully optimised retrofits or new build wind propulsion installations with the potential to deliver 30% or more from the wind alone, it is no wonder the industry is sitting up and taking notice.”
We have seen huge developments in wind energy on land, wind energy offshore and now it would seem that trend is extending to wind on vessels. Indeed the combination of a direct, primary renewable delivered to the vessel with no cost and secondary or stored renewable energy generated by wind energy in batteries, as hydrogen or other power to gas or liquid forms will be an important pathway forward towards zero-emissions shipping.
IWSA will be bringing that message to Hamburg over the next two weeks, engaging with the shipping community and wider maritime sector stakeholders. There are moves afoot to develop a wind propulsion hub for the North Sea and Baltic regions with roundtables hosted by MARIKO at Hochschule Emden Leer and the Hamburg School of Business Administration (HSBA). HSBA will also be hosting a wind propulsion seminar on the evening of the 15th November, giving participants a chance to get a full update on progress in the field and meet wind propulsion experts and project leaders. A press lunch and roundtable will be held at the same venue the following day.
Dr. Orestis Schinas, Professor of Ship Finance at the Maritime Business School (MBS) of the Hamburg School of Business Administration (HSBA) comments; “ We are delighted to host the IWSA events this month. MBS advocates that wind propulsion is an important component in the development of low carbon commercial shipping, therefore research effort and educational resources are allocated in this field. The MBS offers regular events focusing on the decarbonization of marine operations, and looks forward to welcoming IWSA, media and the industry in presentations and discussions on the exciting prospect of developing a wind propulsion hub in the region.”
The industry has many questions around this relatively new trend; It is based on a tried and tested source of propulsion energy, but what current technology options are there? How is the market developing and who is leading the charge? What are the costs involved and what do the returns look like? And how can we get involved in the development of this wind propulsion hub? These events give an opportunity for the regional players to shine a light on this emerging trend, ask those tough market based questions and start to test the credibility of these claims.
These events are supported by a series of regionally based wind propulsion companies and leading experts in the field, these include: MARIKO, HSBA and Utopia Navalis from Germany, eConowind and Dykstra NA from the Netherlands and Norsepower and FinOcean Consulting from Finland.