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What is a Wind-Propelled Ship and How Does it Help the Environment?

Broadly speaking, the shipping industry has fallen behind other industries in making strides towards sustainability and reduced emissions. Because of this, the shipping industry is facing increased pressure to make their practices more sustainable and for vessel companies to reduce their carbon footprint.

Under stress from regulators, cargo operators, and financiers, many shipping carrier are urgently looking for ways to make their operations more eco-friendly. One innovative solution that could help carriers achieve their green goals is exploring wind-propelled ships.

What Does it Mean for a Ship to Be Wind Propelled?

While ship makers are not fully returning to the days of sail-propulsion, they are finding new ways to use wind to power a new type of ship. Vessels designed with wind-propulsion systems have features like innovative sails, deck-mounted wings, kites, and unique hull designs.

Earlier this year, Wallenius Wilhemsen, a Norwegian roll-on/roll-off carrier, announced plans to build a full-sized wind-propelled pure car and truck carrier (PCTC). The vessel, which will be named the Orcelle Wind, will have the capacity to carry 7,000 vehicles or a mix of cars and heavy equipment and machinery.

The designs for the Orcelle Wind should be completed by mid-2022 and will include 5 telescopic sails with a maximum height of 100 meters and a minimum height of 50 meters or less. The vessel will be 220 meters long and will have a service speed of 10-12 knots under sail, which includes both wind power and augmentation through auxiliary power systems.

How Do Wind-Propelled Ships Help the Environment?

Using wind-propelled ships can significantly reduce vessel emissions. In fact, the Orcelle Wind should produce a staggering 90% fewer emissions than a conventional vessel. These findings are critical as the International Maritime Organization has the goal of reducing carbon intensity to 40% of 2008 levels by 2030. Additionally, many cargo owners and logistics companies are putting pressure on freight transport companies to drastically reduce emissions.

With this new focus on sustainability, companies are looking for alternative solutions for propulsion systems and fuels. Gavin Allwright, head of the International Windship Association, notes that “we don’t see how we can make the speed and depth of change without wind propulsion taking a significant load.”

Wind-propulsion technology promises to help shipping companies reduce their emissions while meeting sustainability targets. With that said, experts are clear that this technology, on its own, will not be enough to meet the ambitious targets that the industry currently faces.

To learn how the logistics industry’s green initiative could affect your business or to hear how ClearFreight can help make your supply chain more efficient, contact our team today.

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