The Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion (WASP) project, funded by the Interreg North Sea Europe programme, part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to the tune of EUR 3.4 million has been officially approved and launched.
The project brings together universities, wind-assist technology providers with ship owners to research, trial and validate the operational performance of a selection of wind propulsion solutions thus enabling wind propulsion technology market penetration and contributing to a greener North Sea transport system through harvesting the regions’ abundant wind potential.
This aligns with the wider programmes’ objective of promoting the development and adoption of products, services and processes to accelerate the greening of the North Sea Region. “We’re delighted to be able to commence the WASP project and we are thrilled or looking forward to being able to test the wind propulsion systems on different types of vessels, routes and sea conditions throughout the project duration thanks to Interreg’s support and the efforts of all the project partners,” Danitsja van Heusden-van Winden, Netherlands Maritime Technology Foundation and WASP project lead beneficiary, said.
The project shipping partners include Scandlines Gedser-Rostock, Boeckmans Ship Management and Van Dam Shipping along with two additional partners to be added shortly.
Wind propulsion, shipping logistics and innovation experts will be monitoring and evaluating operations and developing pathways and applications to tackle the regulatory and business-related issues that are often major barriers to the uptake of new technologies. “The transition to decarbonised shipping is the greatest maritime challenge of our time and demand for low carbon solutions is growing. Direct wind propulsion along with secondary renewables: wind-sourced ammonia, hydrogen and other fuels and batteries, are all pieces in this decarbonisation puzzle,” according to the Nord University.
The high potential for wind energy in North Sea region and innovative, automated wind propulsion technologies such as rotors sails, suction wings and rigid sails can directly harvest this resource and contribute at a time of rising fuel prices, market instability, emission reduction directives, carbon pricing, a tightening regulatory and policy environment. All are making wind solutions more commercially attractive for the future. “Wind propulsion solutions are a very important technology segment for the decarbonisation of shipping. The propulsive energy provided is substantial and this is delivered directly to the ship with no need for new infrastructure,” Gavin Allwright, Secretary General of the International Windship Association, added.
“That secures a significant portion of ship owners fuel requirement at zero cost, creating an element of certainty in a volatile and increasingly insecure market in the future.”
These wind propulsion systems can be installed on existing vessels saving 5-20% of fuel and emissions and possibly up to 30% as retrofits or incorporated into optimised new builds with potentially higher savings.