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Decade of Wind Propulsion campaign aims for ‘rapid’ decarbonisation

Photo: IWSA ships wind propulsion.jpg
The International Windship Association (IWSA) is spearheading a ‘Decade of Wind Propulsion’ campaign to accelerate the adoption of hybrid alternative propulsion methods for shipping, helping to steer the industry toward decarbonisation.

The Decade of Wind Propulsion 2021-2030 aims to achieve a rapid and measurable decarbonisation of the global shipping fleet as early as in the 2020s.

“Wind propulsion systems help shipowners and operators reduce carbon emissions by up to 30% for retrofit solutions and significantly higher for optimised newbuild ships. It’s clear that wind must be fully integrated into the decarbonisation pathways for shipping – it is an abundant, widely available and free energy source waiting to be harnessed,” said Gavin Allwright, secretary general of IWSA.

With practical solutions ready to go or nearing market, direct wind energy requires no new infrastructure investment, no storage tanks onboard and is delivered directly to the point of use.

“There are already 11 large ocean-going vessels with wind-assist systems installed, with over 20 rigs installed along with two more installations pending this quarter and a further 20 plus smaller sail cargo and small cruise vessels using wind – that is more than all current new alternative fuelled vessels combined,” Allwright said.

The EU has forecast that up to 10,700 wind propulsion installations could be in place by 2030, covering 50% of the bulker market and up to 65% of tankers. This will in turn reduce emissions by 7.5m tonnes of CO2.

The UK Clean Maritime Plan forecasts that wind propulsion technologies will become a GBP2bn a year segment, with approximately 37,000-40,000 installations (equivalent to 40-45% market penetration) by the 2050s.

Three key elements of the Decade of Wind Propulsion campaign include the delivery of retrofit systems and newbuild projects, the optimisation of existing systems alongside new concepts, and the facilitation of hybrid systems.

“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 said.

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