MARIN is researching wind energy for shipping

MARIN research institute starts two research projects (so-called joint industry projects) aimed at facilitating wind energy for large ships, as part of the efforts to achieve CO2 reduction in shipping. The first project, Wind-Assisted Ship Propulsion, is being undertaken in collaboration with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), which sets standards for shipbuilding worldwide.

‘We want to try to arrive at recommended practices,’ says project leader Rogier Eggers of MARIN. ‘The predictions in models, for example of the efficiency of wind assistance propulsion, must become more accurate. Moreover, the regulations for ships have not been set up. We want to do something about that. ‘

Uncertainty about regulations and the costs and benefits is one of the reasons why wind energy for the (partial) drive of larger seagoing ships hardly gets further than the drawing board. In the course of this year, a handful of vessels will be put into service using Flettner rotors. These are large, vertically placed motor-driven cylinders on ships that rotate around their own axis. The so-called magnus effect then ensures that lateral wind is converted into a forward thrust of the ship. Four ships are currently in service according to this principle, including E-ship 1 from the German wind turbine manufacturer Enercon. According to the owner, the rotor sails lead to a fuel saving of 25%.

The second project that MARIN is working on involves integrating a simplified wind tunnel section into the existing seagoing and maneuvering tank. This is partly due to research that MARIN did for the race ship Volvo Ocean 65. To win a race, a sailing ship must make optimum use of wind and waves. This will also apply to future cargo ships that want to use the wind. So according to Eggers it is logical that MARIN develops a facility to be able to test not only the water location, but also the wind effects on scale models.

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