Using wind to go green

SSPA business case support: Using wind to go green

The international shipping industry is in for some radical changes. Wind power is now an option that deserves to be taken seriously. SSPA has developed efficient prediction tools for both wind-propelled and wind-assisted ships to support the development of more sustainable maritime transport.

- 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?

*What is the business case for such a system?

*What happens if the wind dies?

* How will it affect the recently adopted Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) or the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) ?

* What are the risks involved?

“Wind assistance” technology refers to an auxiliary system that provides a moderate amount of forward thrust, resulting in annual fuel reductions of about 5-10 percent. Several such devices, mostly “Flettner rotors”, have recently been retrofitted to otherwise conventional ships.

On the other end of the spectrum are the “Wind propelled ships” which rely almost entirely on the power of the wind. The most notable project in this sector is the Wind Powered Car Carrier targeting fuel reductions of up to 90%. Project partners are SSPA, Wallenius Marine, and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).

- 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 sails, and combing this with operational strategies and the weather data of the intended trading routes.

- The future is already here, concludes Frederik Gerhardt. We have the technology and the tools to use it. 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:

* EEXI and CII: