With the spotlight firmly focused on cutting emissions from ships, an update to an already-existing technology could become a useful addition to the growing range of fuel-saving technologies.
The technology, a foil that enhances propulsion using wave power, has been developed by the UK's Cranfield University.
According to a report in the Engineer, laboratory-scale testing of the 'wave-devouring propulsion' (WDP) has demonstrated the potential to reduce fuel use by 20%.
The research project includes supporting studies into how wave energy can be optimised for cargo vessels.
Design features allow the substructure to adapt to changing weather and wave conditions, how different sizes of ship behave in these different conditions, and how more active propulsion can be generated through movement of the fin-like hydrofoil, the report said.
Attention is also being paid to how cargo vessels can follow the best wave routes around and between coastal areas, allowing WDP to have the greatest impact.