Wind propulsion may be making a comeback in the global shipping fleet but how is this technology actually perceived by the modern maritime industry?

The multiple mature technologies available today make wind a realistic and viable renewable energy source that can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of cargo vessels. In recent years, there has been a sharp uptake of wind propulsion systems for use on merchant ships. However, as a technology group that is available to ship operators that can offer proven double digit fuel savings using an emission-free source of energy, its adoption on a wide scale remains limited. But why?

This is one of the key questions that the International Windship Association (IWSA) hopes to find an answer to by conducting an industry-wide survey which aims to gather insight from participants on their level of awareness of wind propulsion technology and perceived barriers to uptake.

Perceptions on low emission and zero emission vessels are also considered in the survey to gauge the industry’s perception on the key driving forces behind the transition to low or zero emission operations and the future of ship propulsion and fuel use.

Gavin Allwright, Secretary General of IWSA says: “The results of this industry-wide survey will inform IWSA’s future work. We will endeavour to assess where potential information gaps lie and plug them to ensure that the industry has the information it needs to make accurate decisions on whether to adopt wind propulsion technology or, for the regulators, ensure that they can access what they need ahead of taking policy-making decisions.”

Survey results will enable IWSA to better understand the current barriers and drivers for shipping decarbonisation and the uptake of low/zero emissions fuels and wind propulsion technologies. Industry feedback gathered from survey respondents will also form part of a publicly available market report where all data generated will be anonymised and no individual will be identified.

Three separate surveys have been designed for policy makers/regulators, ship owners/ship operators, and charterers. The individual survey for each stakeholder group has an estimated completion time of ten minutes.