K LINE puts weight behind wind propulsion for commercial shipping

K LINE, operating 468 large vessels worldwide, believes that as fuel prices bounce back, with increasingly likely fossil fuel levies in the near future and more expensive alternative fuels that will start to become commercially available over the next decade, wind propulsion is a credible, viable and increasingly attractive solution.  

As such, K LINE has joined the International Windship Association (IWSA), the member driven not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to the promotion and facilitation of direct wind propulsion in commercial shipping. 

This announcement comes on the back of K LINE’s commitment to deploy the Airseas kite propulsion systems, known as Seawing on their vessels, after a period of testing and analysis.  K LINE has signed the option for a further 50 installations for their fleet.

Koji Tsumuraya, K LINE’s Advanced Technology Group, said the Airseas kite system is the most promising wind propulsion in view of its enhanced traction power resulting from advance flight control technology. 

IWSA Secretary General, Gavin Allwright, said: “Wind-assist retrofits will deliver 5-20% of the propulsive energy required by large vessels on their current motor vessel operational profile, with the potential to reach 30%. This abundant energy is delivered at zero cost and emissions for the life of the vessel, directly to the point of use without the need for additional expensive infrastructure.”

A market projection released in an EU report in 2016 forecast that wind propulsion technology installations could reach up to 10,700 in the container, bulker and tanker markets by 2030.

This finding was recently echoed by the UK Clean Maritime Plan released in July 2019 that identified wind propulsion technologies as a £2 billion a year market by the 2050s. 

Wind propulsion solutions are now coming into a market where ship owners are looking at every means of reducing carbon emissions in anticipation of tightening rules at IMO, carbon pricing and higher carbon taxes. 

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