As wind-assisted propulsion technologies for commercial shipping are starting to see an uptake in availability and installations are ramping up, there is also a growing interest in primary wind solutions, or optimized whole-vessel design solutions.
A renaissance for wind propulsion
SINTEF Ocean has for many years carried out research on novel ship technologies of numerous types. Wind propulsion, though one of the oldest forms of ship propulsion, is having a renaissance, as part of the push towards more environmentally friendly shipping. In order to further support the development of this technology, SINTEF Ocean announced that we are joining the International Windship Association (IWSA), a member-driven association that promotes and helps facilitate the uptake of wind propulsion in commercial shipping globally.
"There is a strong interest in wind propulsion from academia, technology providers, designers and ship owners. Full-scale installations are on the rise, and we see a steady flow of new low-emission and zero-emission concepts that include wind propulsion in some way”, states Sverre Anders Alterskjær, research manager for SINTEF Ocean's Ships and Ocean Structures department.
Vessel design and operation are key areas
Still, the application of wind-assisted propulsion adds some complexity to the prediction of vessel performance in terms of energy efficiency, seakeeping, and manoeuvring. Considerations that allow for optimising the potential of wind assistance should ideally also be carried out both in vessel design and operation, both of which are key areas that SINTEF brings extensive expertise to.
Alterskjær continues, “We have been a follower of the IWSA for some time, and have appreciated the open sharing of news, publications and relevant events on the webpage even for non-members. However, we feel that it is time that we enter as a member, and we look forward to contributing more actively to connect, learn and share our research within the exciting field of wind propulsion”.
Joining forces for research and development
Joining IWSA comes at just the right time, as SINTEF Ocean researchers are currently working on several projects involving wind-assisted propulsion. Research and development is currently underway on numerical and experimental methods for evaluating different types of wind propulsors, with the goal of using wind propulsion to optimise vessels.
“Having SINTEF Ocean join IWSA now is very timely. Bringing their experience and R&D work on evaluating wind systems will strengthen our work to standardise those methods in the future, which is critical work as the momentum in the sector continues to build”, comments Gavin Allwright, IWSA Secretary General. “We are looking forward to working together to help realise a credible, viable wind propulsion future for the industry”.