Wind energy is emerging as a contender in the race to develop new sustainable solutions that address environmental concerns and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry.
Three wind propulsion programs advanced this week alone, while the International Wind Ship Association (IWSA) has announced a new initiative to accelerate the adoption of alternative and hybrid propulsion methods.
The association is seeking programs that combine wind power, alternative fuels and energy efficiency measures to achieve optimal decarbonization of the maritime sector on a global scale.
According to the IWSA, there are currently 11 large ocean-going vessels with wind-assisted systems installed and more than 20 platforms installed, with two additional installations pending this quarter.
In addition, there are more than 20 smaller cargo ships using wind technology, as well as sail-powered cruise ships. By 2023, there are expected to be more than 40 large vessels equipped with wind propulsion.
“The EU has forecast that by 2030 there could be as many as 10,700 wind propulsion installations, and the UK’s Clean Maritime Plan envisages wind propulsion technologies becoming a £2 billion ($2.8 billion) a year segment, with some 30,000 installations (equating to 40-45% market penetration) by the 2050s,” says Gavin Allwright, Secretary General of the IWSA.
Among the new technologies being developed is the Oceanwings 3.6.3 wind propulsion system from French company AYRO, which has recently been granted approval in principle (AiP) by DNV GL.
Following a review of the main drawings and documents of the Oceanwings 3.6.3 system against the relevant standards for ship classification, DNV GL issued the AiP statement confirming that there are no significant obstacles preventing the realization of the concept.
According to AYRO, the system will enable ship owners and operators to harness wind energy to improve the energy balance of individual ships and fleets, thereby significantly reducing carbon emissions.
This wind propulsion system is a 363-square-meter, two-element sail that can be installed on board ships to effectively add wind energy to propulsion.
After 10 years of research, the first prototype in 2017 and the Energy Observer industrial demonstrator in 2019, AYRO is manufacturing four Oceanwings that will be installed on “Canopée”, a RoRo vessel under construction at the Neptune Marine shipyard.
It will be commissioned towards the end of 2022 by French shipowner Jifmar Guyane and operated by Alizee, a joint venture between Jifmar and Zephyr & Borée, to carry part of the Ariane 6 rocket program being developed for the European Space Agency.
“Ocean wings are adaptable to most types of cargo vessels, says Ludovic Gérard, CEO of AYRO, “We continue to receive many inquiries and numerous requests for feasibility studies from shipowners and charterers around the world, for both retrofit and new build projects. Our mission and vision is to support them in the design of their vessels, as well as in the installation and maintenance of Oceanwings, to help them meet the challenges of competitiveness and GHG emissions reduction. ”
The famed French shipyard Chantiers de l’Atlantique also announced this week that it is advancing its solid sail concept. To further validate the design concepts and move toward commercialization, the shipyard said it will install test versions of the mast, rig and sail at its St. Louis shipyard.
RoRo ship owner and operator Wallenius Wilhelmsen also unveiled the beginnings of its designs to commercialize the concept of the world’s largest sailing vessel that would transport cars, vehicles and machinery across the Atlantic.
The IWSA is calling this the “Decade of Wind Propulsion,” launching its new campaign to focus on the delivery, optimization and facilitation of wind propulsion. The organization will publish a comprehensive market report and other information campaigns to support the development of the technology.