Wind propulsion should play a bigger part in the decarbonisation of shipping, a new document submitted to a maritime body says.

‘Reduction of GHG emissions from ships – Wind propulsion solutions’, submitted by the Comoros flag to the 75th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 75), stressed that direct wind propulsion is a leading decarbonisation technology but is “receiving only very limited consideration” in sustainable shipping discussions.

“Direct thrust from wind propulsion technologies offers a technically and commercially viable near-term solution that can already save 5% to 20% of fuel and associated emissions as wind assistance, with the potential for much higher benefits as the technology develops or is deployed on optimised newbuild ships,” said the document.

It further highlighted: “Wind solutions are cost-effective, do not depend on alterations to port infrastructure and ensure shipowners have improved operational autonomy in mitigating the risks and uncertainties of being commercially dependent on the unknown cost and availability of alternative fuels.”

Adopting wind solutions will therefore help shipping companies cut net emissions in the short term, reduce the carbon emissions of ships overall and better enable the shipping sector to meet IMO GHG reduction targets, said the document.

MEPC 72 adopted resolution MEPC.304(72) on Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships. A revised Strategy is to be adopted in 2023.

By Rebecca Jeffrey