Installations of wind power systems in the global fleet are now set at a minimum to double every year, according to the International Windship Association.
Gavin Allwright, secretary general of the International Windship Association, spoke on a panel session of a Safety4Sea event during London International Shipping Week on Thursday.
"The first modern wind ships were launched back in 2010," he said at the event.
"In the subsequent 12 years, we've had 23 ships installed with modern systems.
"Those ships include things like VLCCs, VLOCs, we're talking large vessels.
"So it took 12 years to get there, but in the next 12 months, we will double that.
"We're looking at doubling every year now, minimum.
"My members are scaling their production facilities, we have 13 companies in production and commercial sales, another 20 coming through the R&D early demonstration level."
The systems are generally delivering 5-20% in fuel consumption reduction, with the possibility to increase that rate to 30%, Allwright said.
Wind-assisted propulsion systems are gaining in popularity in the shipping industry as a means of cutting bunker consumption and GHG emissions. The systems are likely to become more widespread once shipping companies start to take on much more expensive alternative bunker fuels, making energy-saving systems more profitable.