Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Awards to Celebrate the Oldest Form of Propulsion for Driving Merchant Voyages

Not for Profit Interests Promote the Cause as Nominations Open
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – It is more than a little ironic that wind, the oldest form of propulsion for vessels on voyages of any distance, has made such a comeback as a potential driver for the modern merchant ships of today.

Sails on vessels are known to date back at least 6,000 years, with the Egyptian square rigged boats active on the Nile and supplemented by oars on the often windless waterway. As global development progressed wind was only being replaced by steam power from some 200 years ago, but it was not going away.

Less than a hundred years ago Anton Flettner came up with the rotary sail, a technology which lay practically dormant until this century when the climate crisis loomed spawning the sulphur cap, and fuel prices soared. In 2016 the recently established International Windship Association (IWSA) held its first ever Wind Propulsion Innovation Awards ceremony, and now, during the second week of COP26 being held in Glasgow, the second iteration approaches.

Nominations are officially open with seven prizes up for grabs. In 2016 the awards were well supported, attracting thousands of votes across its four categories, and as this year’s awards are taking place in the first year of the ‘Decade of Wind Propulsion’, the number of categories has been widened accordingly. Gavin Allwright, IWSA Secretary General explains more:

“These awards are more than simply an industry innovation event, the majority of these awards will be open to public vote and they are a celebration of a crucial toolbox of technologies and projects that have the potential to directly reduce human generated GHG emissions by 1% globally alone, but could also facilitate the entire decarbonisation of the shipping industry.

"Wind propulsion solutions are increasingly being viewed as a vital component in the drive to decarbonise the shipping industry. This is a sector that is gaining a lot of momentum and has a really powerful and positive story to tell, but still has a relatively low profile especially outside of the industry. We see that this is situation is slowly changing and we hope that these wind propulsion innovation awards will help to further propel that change.”

Nominations for the awards are now officially open and the deadline for entries is 1700 (CET), 04 October 2021. The shortlist of finalists for each award category will be announced shortly afterwards compiled by a panel of over 20 leading industry stakeholders, academics and wind propulsion advocates. From mid-October, the first four award categories will be open for public voting until the end of the first week of November (the first week of COP26). The research and outstanding contribution award winners will be selected exclusively by IWSA members.

The awards available are:

  • Wind Propulsion Innovation Award Open to developers of innovative technology and ship designs
  • Wind Propulsion Technology User Award To be presented to any company championing the use of wind propulsion in the maritime sector through prototype testing or commercial use of wind
  • Wind Propulsion Projects Award For projects that are focused on policy, regulation, multiple technology development, R&D, network building or business development in the field
  • Small Vessel Sector Award Reserved for vessels and technologies developed for the small vessel segment, including traditional sail cargo, fisheries, small inter-island ferries etc.
  • Two Research Awards One for completed research papers/reports and projects that been impactful and have furthered our understanding of wind propulsion over the last five years. - The second category is for exciting new proposals for research projects and papers
  • Finally, there will also be an Outstanding Contribution to the Wind Propulsion Sector Award

The full list of shortlist judges will be announced shortly, however sponsors for the awards already include; Wärtsilä, Yara Marine Technologies, Thordon Bearings, The Royal Institution of Naval Architects, Kühne Logistics University (KLU) Hapag-Lloyd Center for Shipping and Global Logistics (CSGL), Norsepower, Green Marine, Dealfeng New Energy Technology and eConowind.

The IWSA itself consists of a loose confederation of those with interests in the technology with the aim of promoting and facilitating it in the world of global merchant shipping. More details on how to make a submission can be found HERE.