Carriers and Shippers Looking at Wind Power as Propellant
It was talked about quite a fair bit a few years ago but in a bid to look at sustainability and all options available, shipping is again considering the power of wind to transport goods.
From giant kites to towering sails, technologies are being developed to propel vessels with restrictions on the use of fossil fuels.
Wind power enthusiasts believe these technologies should play a leading role in ambitions to eliminate carbon emissions from the supply chain.
“Back in 2014, I’d walk into a room and pretty much everybody would say: ‘Oh no, he’s going to talk about this crackpot idea’,” said International Windship Association secretary general Gavin Allwright.
“I was able to go into conversations and say: ‘Your competitors are doing this, why aren’t you?”
In 2018, Maersk installed two 30-metre-high rotor sails on a tanker ship as a trial but it was seen as a somewhat half-hearted effort and we have not heard much about it since then. These spinning sails were hailed as an opportunity to reduce the Pelican’s reliance on fuel and create a new playing field.
More recently, US food company Cargill announced plans to install two folding sails on the deck of a bulk carrier.
“We’ve been intrigued by wind for a very long time,” said Cargill Ocean Transportation president Jan Dieleman.
Wind power advocates hope that tougher environmental regulations will now drive broader investment in the technology.