WAPS – Wind Assisted Propulsion Systems

Wind-assisted propulsion system in a nutshell

Wind-assisted propulsion system (WAPS) technologies have gained significant attention in the shipping industry as a means of reducing fuel consumption and emissions. These technologies harness the power of wind to supplement the propulsion of a vessel by generation of aerodynamic forces. They have the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of shipping operations and make a meaningful contribution to the decarbonization of the industry, as wind is an inexhaustible, free, zero-carbon energy source. 

Sail systems

Several different sailing technology concepts have been or are being developed, including rigid or soft wing sails, Flettner rotors and ventilated foils, or kites. Most modern systems now utilize state-of-the-art intelligent control and automation systems to operate in a safe manner and without the requirement for additional crew. A combination of advanced aerodynamics, automation, computer modelling and modern materials is unlocking a new generation of innovative sail systems for ocean-going ships.


The technology potential of wind-assisted propulsion system

WAPS have already delivered fuel savings of between 4.5% and 9%, according to vessel owners and operators, and have the potential to achieve savings of 25% if installed as a retrofit. The margins are potentially higher if newbuilds are particularly designed to carry sail systems.

In the energy efficiency indices, WAPS is categorized as an “energy harvesting” technology, due to its physical principles of utilizing wind to directly provide additional thrust. Uncertainties in operational cost remain with the weather, but the advantages of sailing can be enhanced with weather routing algorithms to generate optimal routes for individual vessels. There are also several challenges to the widespread adoption of WAPS, such as the need for reliable and efficient technologies that can operate in a variety of conditions.  

How DNV can help you

Class services for wind-assisted propulsion systems

DNV is collaborating with clients to take WAPS technology from a concept to mainstream use – applying our technical standards and relevant services to help provide guidance on compliance with regulatory requirements.

Maritime Advisory services for wind-assisted propulsion systems 

Our advisory experts offer our clients a wide range of services to assist them in various aspects of the decision-making leading up to a WAPS installation, and furthermore support during operation.

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