Last month saw the unveiling Wallenius Marine AB’s newly designed wind-powered vessel, the Oceanbird, a 200m long, 32,000t car carrier that can carry 7,000 vehicles, with retractable 80m high wings. The vessel is designed with an average speed of 10 knots under sail power alone and on favourable routes will reduce emissions by up to 90%. This design fits in perfectly with the paradigm shift that is underway in commercial shipping, a strengthening decarbonisation effort and the embrace of wind as a credible and viable means of direct propulsion across the fleet.
It is with this wind-driven decarbonisation vision in mind that Wallenius Marine AB now announces that it is also joining the International Windship Association (IWSA), the not-for-profit organisation that brings together over 130 members from across the industry to promote and help facilitate the uptake of wind propulsion for commercial shipping.
Wallenius Marine Vice President, Per Tunell, states ‘we are really excited by the development of wind solutions in general, and of course our pioneering Oceanbird design in particular. We see the application of direct wind propulsion as a key solution to the industry decarbonisation challenges. Therefore, it is only natural for us to join the International Windship Association in its drive to further develop the sector.’
While the industry struggles with the question of which alternative low carbon and zero-emissions fuel pathway to follow and the decades that will be required to roll out those alternative fuels worldwide, direct wind propulsion is gaining a significant amount of attention and the momentum is growing with its high potential for savings in fuel and emissions, near-term availability of the solutions and the fact that it doesn’t require heavy investment in shore-based production and distribution chains.
‘We are delighted to welcome Wallenius Marine AB as a member of IWSA, and their vision for ultra-low emissions, primary wind-powered vessels perfectly aligns with the association’s goals.’ states Gavin Allwright, IWSA Secretary General. He adds; ‘the industry is looking for decarbonisation solutions that are credible and available now or in the next couple of years, and wind propulsion delivers that. We look forward to working with the Wallenius Marine team to further the uptake of 21st century wind propulsion solutions across the fleet.’
Further developments in weather routing, improved energy management systems and extensive wind propulsion research and testing are going had-in-hand with the development of wind propulsion systems. This is enabling the wind segment market to grow and the International Maritime Organisation debate around short-term measures such as mandated speed reduction and power restrictions is adding fuel to that growth. Link that to the recent movement in the adoption of carbon levies and the ever increasing pressure to fully decarbonise shipping coming from all directions, wind could be the force that helps dislodge a wealth of low-hanging fruit as it blows through the industry.