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SSPA wind-powered ships

Making the business case


- An increasing number of ship owners, operators, and other stakeholders are contacting SSPA to find out whether wind propulsion could be a solution for them, says Frederik Gerhardt, Senior Specialist Aerodynamics at SSPA. Each case is unique, he continues. We give decision support and have proven methods to answer questions like:

What is the best system in my case? A rotor, a wingsail? How large? How much fuel will it save?
How will it affect the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) or the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII)?
What is the business case for such a system? Payback time?
What happens if the wind dies, or bunker prices triple?
What risks are involved?


- The ideas on how to use the wind have been out there since ancient times, says Frederik Gerhardt. What makes SSPA unique is the ability to rank the options in each case. Here we draw on our solid database from model-testing thousands of ships.

The key to making the business case for wind assistance and propulsion systems lies in carefully studying the hydrodynamics of the hull, the aerodynamics of the sail-system, and combing this with operational strategies and the weather data of the intended trading routes, our tool SEAMAN Winds does just that.

- The future is already here, concludes Frederik Gerhardt. Ships of different shapes and sizes will use wind to go green. Using our methods, we will advise customers how to efficiently harness the free, zero-emission power of the wind.

Further reading:

F. C. Gerhardt, S. Werner, A. Hörteborn, O. Lundbäck, J. Nisbet, T. Olsson, Horses for Courses: How to select the 'right' wind propulsion system and how to make the business case, In the Proceedings of the RINA Conference Wind Propulsion, 2021, London, UK