A UK start-up based in Devizes, Wiltshire is using satellite data to develop technology that will help the shipping industry reduce its CO2 emissions.
Around 90 per cent of everything we consume is moved by sea, and as world trade continues to grow, there is an increasing number of ships crossing our oceans, each using vast amounts of energy.
The shipping industry is responsible for around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually, which is at least 2.5 per cent of the world’s total CO2 emissions.
The International Maritime Organszation has set a target for it to cut these emissions by half by 2050.
The UK government is the first in the world to include emissions from international shipping in its domestic carbon budget.
To help the shipping industry rise to the greenhouse gases challenge, Devizes company, Smart Green Shipping (SGS) has developed a wind-assist power solution based on America’s Cup wing sails.
Its ‘FastRigs’ system involves a series of ‘smart’ vertical aerofoils mounted on vessels.
The aerofoils are paired with a sophisticated analysis system that can accurately calculate the available wind to any ship, across any trade route at different speeds.
It aims to reduce fuel consumption by at least a fifth initially and building on that as the technology progresses.
SGS has been using meteorological and satellite technology at the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre UK (ESA BIC UK).
The technology will help to develop the prototype for this state-of-the-art digital software for this wing sail system.
This digital software can provide projected annual fuel savings accrued, whether that is through retrofitting the technology into an existing ship, or as part of a new-build design.
This enables project partners to finance the greenhouse gas-saving technology.
It also makes the wing sails ‘intelligent’ by sensing when to turn to make the most of the wind angle and speed and retracting when approaching a bridge, or when wind speeds present a danger.
It does all this autonomously meaning there is no need for any additional crew to operate.
Diane Gilpin, Founder and CEO of SGS, said: “Wind is free, clean and abundantly available to ships that are equipped to harness it.
“Our modern wind-assist solutions are highly advanced and optimised to enable the shipping industry to start driving down emissions immediately.
“For SGS, the ESA BIC UK support over the last two years has been of key strategic importance to our mission, to drive the uptake of renewables in the maritime industry using wind power.
“The development of our digital tool is critical to our efforts to support ship owners assessing the commercial viability of installing wind-assist solutions on their ships.”
Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said: “Smart Green Shipping’s pioneering efforts to deliver cleaner, greener transportation could help achieve the clean growth required for the UK to meet its climate targets. If we’re serious about meeting those targets, decarbonising transportation is the next big challenge. The combination of green shipping with renewables makes an even greater contribution to decarbonisation globally. This is a key development in achieving Drax’s aim – to deliver a zero carbon, low-cost future for all.”