Scottish Government Paves The Way For Reduced Carbon Emissions In The Shipping Industry

As decarbonisation is becoming more and more of a hot topic, the Scottish Government paves the way to reduce carbon emissions in partnership with Lloyd’s Register. By 2023 they hope to perform a demonstration on a commercial ship after developing wing sail technology that can be retrofitted to in-service merchant ships. They will also address problems such as deployment

In 2014 a company called Smart Green Shipping (SGS) was launched. They have been developing their automated sail technology. This works in combination with a digital routing software that can analyse the wind which will allow the vessel to reduce its fuel consumption. This will lead to reduced carbon emissions. 

A feasibility study was conducted by SGS in 2018, to assist in overcoming obstacles to the adoption of the technology. The European Space Agency worked closely with them in 2019 to aid in the development of digital tools to predict and optimise wind use in shipping.

The illustrations provided by SGS show that the sails will fold down similar to other concepts being developed. This will reduce obstructions and interference with loading and unloading. The sails will also be able to pivot to maximise the contribution to propulsion.

Diane Gilpin, founder of SGS had this to say, “Shipping has a long history of harnessing the power of wind, but digital technologies are allowing us to work towards making zero-emission vessels a reality … Smart Green Shipping’s FastRig wing sail technology offers a financially and technically robust solution to help support shipping’s green transition.”

Initially there shall be tests of the FastRig wing sails on land. In conjunction, the TradeWind software that creates route plans for wind optimisation shall be further.

Tom Wolodarsky, Technical Authority for Wind Propulsion Systems of Lloyd’s Register commented, “We have successfully completed the first stage of Approval in Principle of the technology … which can assist in providing assurance to industry and demonstrate WAPS technology is a safe, viable option that follows well established, independent standards.”

The testing of this new technology at the University of Southampton’s Wolfson Unit shows that it could reduce fuel consumption by at least 20% for retrofits. However, in new build small and medium sized ships the savings could be around 50%.

FastRig technology is expected to be deployed on up to 40,000 vessels in the global merchant fleet, primarily bulkers and tankers. 

As the Scottish Government continues to pave the way for reduced emissions in the shipping industry, it comes at a cost. A total funding grant of approximately $6 million, including $3.8 million from industry partners. Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s national economic agency, is also providing a $2.2 million grant.

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