More wind experts are convinced that combining different rotor technologies on deck will lead to greater energy savings. To this end, the European Union has granted funding for the Optiwise HORIZON Project, which will look at how up to three different wind propulsion systems installed on a single ship could derive significant energy savings, with the backers of the project estimating savings could be as high as 30 to 50%.
Among the Dutch-led consortium is Euronav, the Belgian tanker giant, whose sustainability manager, Konstantinos Papoutsis, commented: “We are aware of the huge challenge that the maritime industry is facing to reduce its green house gas emissions according to the IMO ambition, and the gradually introduced regulations to advance this effort. Zero emission fuels are assumed to be the main solution. However, sufficient and affordable supply of such fuels is highly uncertain for the foreseeable future, which means that energy saving onboard is expected to be increasingly important, both environmentally and economically. We expect that the knowledge built through such R&D efforts will benefit the waterborne industry in its decarbonisation journey.”
Extensive simulations on multiple ship types involving different wind propulsion kits – including hard sails and rotors – will be carried out as part of the European research.
Splash reported last month New York-listed wood chip producer Enviva has signed up for a sail-assisted bulk carrier to be ordered by Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), which will feature both MOL’s own hard sail Wind Challenger as well as rotor sails created by Anemoi Marine Technologies.
Wind propulsion has transitioned from the perception of being blue sky technology in the previous decade to gaining industry interest over the past few years. The conversion of that interest into investment is now taking place at a quickening pace.
There are currently 19 large vessel wind propulsion installations in operation and that number will likely double over the next 12 months according to the International Windship Association (IWSA).