New research project for wind-powered ships KSP WIND kicks off

Norwegian research organization SINTEF Ocean has launched the KSP WIND project dedicated to wind propulsion for merchant ships.


As informed, a formal kick-off of the project occurred last week, through a series of presentations from the project partners, a consortium of 14 companies, including Norsepower, Klaveness Combination Carriers (KCC), AYRO, LMG Marin, Kongsberg Maritime, Odfjell and others. The funding for the project is provided by the Research Council of Norway, and the project is expected to last until 2027.

According to SINTEF, KSP WIND will develop new simulation tools for accurate analysis of wind-powered ships that include aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, propulsion, machinery, control system, and operation, both for short-term time-domain analysis and long-term statistical analysis.

The tools will then be used for accurate case studies of wind-powered ships to quantify the potential of wind power and make suggestions for design changes to maximize fuel savings.

This is expected to help Norwegian shipowners, ship designers, and equipment suppliers positions within emission-friendly maritime technology and enable sustainable growth while reducing the environmental impact.

Specifically, KSP WIND’s main objective is to study merchant ships where a large portion of the propulsion power comes from the wind, with a particular focus on unsteady effects and challenges related maneuvering, sea keeping, and ship system interaction.

The goal is to quantify how these effects might affect the performance and fuel savings of wind-powered ships and to suggest solutions to any problems detected.

The partners expect that the risk (both economical and safety) connected to installing new wind power devices will be reduced by developing new and more accurate simulation tools for the maritime industry.

Greenhouse gas emissions from shipping represent around 3 percent of global emissions. Due to new regulations, this must be reduced drastically in the coming years before reaching zero by 2050.

Switching from fossil fuels to other energy carriers is challenging. Batteries require high investment costs and huge space on board to be feasible for long-distance shipping. Zero-emission fuels – such as hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol – have a long way to go before they can be produced sustainably at a large enough scale. The maritime sector is, therefore, searching for other complementary solutions.

Wind-propulsion technology (also known as wind-assisted technology) is among the solutions that have gained increasing attention recently. Looking at the international shipping fleet (and new-build order book), by the end of 2023, around 50 large ships out of over 110,000 vessels, will have wind-assisted technology, according to SINTEF.