Annika Braren

WASP draws to a close with five vessels retrofitted

The EU-Interreg North Sea Region project, known as ‘WASP: Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion,’ has concluded with the retrofitting of five commercial vessels with wind-assist systems. As part of the project, three different wind propulsion technologies were rigorously tested, with third-party validations confirming the actual fuel savings achieved.

Image credit WASP; Annika Braren

The five installations of wind propulsion technology that were carried out as part of the project have proven that the technology can deliver up to 10% saving depending on the route and vessel operational profile. 

These installations have also contributed to the generation of three points of reference for different wind propulsion technologies and shipping segments that will support ship owners to make investment decisions going forward.

Alongside these achievements, crucial deliverables such as performance indicators, standard sea trials, and decision-making tools were also finalized, the project developers said.

The completion of the WASP project marks a significant step forward in harnessing wind power for sustainable shipping as it leaves behind a wealth of knowledge and expertise for further development of wind-assisted technology.

Funded by the Interreg North Sea Europe programme, part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), WASP brought together universities, wind-assist technology providers, and ship owners to research, trial, and validate the operational performance of a selection of wind propulsion solutions.

After three and a half years the project has generated a significant stream of information and transparency around wind propulsion technology selection, installation and operation, helping spur the general development of the wind-assist sector both in the North Sea region and beyond.

“We are proud to be part of this amazing project. By the WASP installations realised and evaluated during the project lifetime, wind technology proved to be an important element of the decarbonisation process of shipping. For Scandlines, the positive results were a decisive factor to install another rotor sail on the sister ferry of the Copenhagen,” Marko Möller, Manager Special Projects at Scandlines, one of the ship owning companies involved in the WASP project, said.

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“We believe energy efficiency is key and are always open to new developments. That is why we are sailing with the eConowind VentiFoils on mv Frisian Sea. I think the three major factors – unit costs, fuel prices and European ETS legislation – are combining in such a way that wind-assisted propulsion will soon become one of the standard solutions,’’ Johan Boomsma, Co-owner of Boomsma Shipping, another of the ship-owning companies involved in the project says.

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The WASP project has also contributed to developing standard procedures for sea trials for wind propulsion technology-equipped vessels and the creation of standards for KPI’s in collaboration with the International Towing Tank Conference (ITTC).

In addition to the vessel installations, the project has had a strong focus on the educational field. Twelve key educational events have been held at project partner universities along with others in Enkhuizen Maritime Academy, the Delft Technical University and the World Maritime University.

“Although the project has drawn to a close, the continued use of the deliverables from the project’s four work packages will help to inform the industry and policymakers going forward. The project has already contributed to a far better-informed shipping sector in the EU when it comes to wind propulsion technologies and the North Sea region continues to be at the forefront of developments in the field,” the project developers added.

The International Windship Association (IWSA), a key partner in the project, has pledged to continue to integrate the deliverables from the WASP Project into its work.