Wind Power Can Help Older Tonnage Compete with Newer Eco-Ships, Says New Study

Tuesday March 8, 2016

Wind power technology can help older, less-efficient ships to operate competitively with newer, more efficient ships; that is just one of the findings in a new study published by the energy institute at the University College London (UCL) and environmental think-tank the Carbon War Room.

The study was published in the Journal of Marine Policy and found that, depending on ship design and weather patterns, wind technologies can deliver savings on bunkers between ten and 60 percent.

The report says that wind technologies could be especially beneficial for vessels operating along the busy shipping routes in the North Pacific, North Sea, and Southern Ocean where favourable wind conditions exist.

According to a summary of the report the exact fuel savings that can be achieved will depend on weather patterns along the route, but also the design of the ship, and other factors including operating speed.

The report also notes that economic barriers, such as access to capital, are hindering the adoption of wind technology, but "third-party capital, in combination with best-in-class data collection and analysis, offers one solution to overcoming these barriers."

The study contends that ship owners and operators question the hidden and the upfront costs involved with wind power; informational problems about ships' fuel efficiency in real operating conditions have contributed to a lack of trust in the fuel efficiency claims made by technology providers.

The report, titled,"Wind technologies: Opportunities and barriers to a low carbon shipping industry" is part of the joint Shipping Innovation Fast Tracker (ShIFT) program.

The report notes that to meet the international goal of limiting overall warming to 1.5°C maritime shipping will need to achieve reductions on the order of 80 percent from the business-as-usual case.

In September of 2015 Ship & Bunker reported that ship owners are increasingly receptive to wind power on commercial ships, according to the The International Windship Association.