Solving the Greatest Maritime Challenge of Our Time

WASP group photo

As one participant of the EU Interreg North Sea Region programme Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion (WASP) project, KLU is embarking on a journey of finding the solution to one of the greatest challenges of our time: the decarbonization of the shipping industry. The Hapag-Lloyd Center for Shipping and Global Logistics (CSGL) of KLU is head of the 'Policy and Viable Business' work package of WASP. Along with ten other partners, it is investigating the regulatory and business challenges that need to be resolved in order to accelerate the uptake of WASP technologies.

The project was officially launched at the joint kick-off meeting of the project participants in Rotterdam on September 30, 2019. From the start, KLU has been fully engaged and is now relentlessly propelling the project forward. “Among other things, we are seeking to explore the economic implications of WASP technologies on the shipping industry. Furthermore, we wish to propose strategies that will enable the sector to overcome barriers that hinder their uptake,” commented Dr. Vasileios Kosmas, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the CSGL. Dr. Kosmas has been working alongside Professor Dr. Michele Acciaro, Dr. Katharina Renken, and Todd Chou. Together they have been responsible for the implementation of the work-package.

Decarbonization as a Challenge

In view of the global efforts to combat climate change, the shipping industry is also facing challenges. In 2018, the International Maritime Organization defined its strategy for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By 2050, overall fleet GHG emissions are to be reduced by at least 50 percent compared to 2008 levels. The international community is currently examining various measures, actions and technologies in order to meet these emission reduction goals.  A promising low carbon solution that can contribute towards this direction is wind assisted ship propulsion technology. Different stakeholders (e.g. shipping companies, policy makers) have acknowledged the appealing character of WASP technology as it leads to a fuel consumption improvement and an emission decline at the same time. Thanks to the dedication of leading developers, early adopters, policy makers, and researchers, it has now reached a degree of maturity and claimed its place in the center of the decarbonization dialogue.

Wind Based Ship Propulsion in Practice

Individual companies within the shipping industry have been experimenting with the use of wind-assisted ship propulsion systems for several decades. So far, however, there has been a lack of transparent data on the results of these test trials. “This is a great opportunity to create more transparency of WASP technologies in terms of the performance and business viability,” reports Todd Chou. KLU leads a work package that includes eleven partners. In addition to the aforementioned objectives, the work package partners will construct the business case for a selection of WASP technologies. In addition, they will also assess necessary investments and costs for the acquisition and use of the new technologies. Scenarios can be derived from this which depict the necessary conditions for a successful market launch as well as recommendations for policy makers.


WASP Project

The Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion Project (WASP) has received EUR 5.4 million from the Interreg North Sea Europe Program of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The total project duration is set at 36 months. Universities, suppliers of wind-supported technologies, shipping companies, non-governmental organizations, and financing experts are working together to research, test, and validate the operational performance of different wind propulsion solutions. This should enable the market penetration of wind propulsion technology, contributing to a greener North Sea transport system by exploiting the region's significant wind potential. This is in line with the overall objective of the program which is to promote the development and adoption of products, services, and processes in order to accelerate the greening of the North Sea Region.

The partners in KLU’s work package:


More information:

EU-backed Wind-Assist Ship Propulsion Project Sets Sail on its Three-Year Voyage

WASP project