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Winds of change for the shipping sector

June 18, 2014
Manchester University
Wind propulsion such as kites and Flettner rotors could offer a viable route to help cut carbon dioxide emissions in the shipping sector, according to researchers.

Wind propulsion such as kites and Flettner rotors could offer a viable route to help cut CO2 emissions in the shipping sector, according to Dr Michael Traut, a Research Associate from The University of Manchester.

Speaking at the 'Shipping in Changing Climates: provisioning the future' Conference in Liverpool today (Thursday), Dr Traut will present research that uses a new model to couple wind-power technologies with weather data to show how in theory, and with supporting incentives, wind energy could cut CO2 and fuel use by as much as 50% on smaller cargo vessels up to 5,000 dead weight tonnes. This would also have a knock-on impact of cutting sulphur and nitrogen oxide and dioxide emissions by reducing the total amount of fuel burnt.

The study, to be presented in a session entitled 'Future Shipping Propulsion', will be discussed alongside presentations from more than 30 other speakers from across academia and the shipping industry. All the speakers will be exploring new issues and opportunities on the horizon for the industry in meeting the challenges faced by climate change.

The conference, sponsored by Lloyd's Register and Shell, is integral to an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC) and industry-funded consortium project, and will bring together an audience made up of industrialists, policymakers and academics to debate how climate change may impact on the shipping sector worldwide.

The Shipping in Changing Climates project combines expertise from two substantial existing shipping research projects with two additional research partners.

Project lead Professor Paul Wrobel, from UCL, said: "Our vision is to create an enduring, multi-disciplinary and independent research community strongly linked to industry and capable of informing the policy making process by developing new knowledge and understanding of the shipping system, its energy efficiency and emissions, and its transition to a low carbon, more resilient future."

Held during the International Festival for Business 2014 (IFB) in Liverpool this month, within their Maritime, Logistics and Energy (MLE) programme, the conference will explore the technological, operational, demand and supply-side changes needed to deliver a secure and resilient low-carbon shipping system. It will also raise questions on how climate change policies and impacts in other sectors -- such as cutting the carbon intensity of electricity -- might influence patterns of trade and the demand for shipping. As well as academic talks, the conference will host speakers from Shell, Lloyds Register, BMT, the International Chamber of Shipping, Maersk and CE Delft.

Dr Alice Bows-Larkin, from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at The University of Manchester and one of the lead academics in the 'Shipping in Changing Climates' consortium, said: "Climate change will influence the future of all sectors and shipping is no exception. More long-term strategic thinking will be required if the shipping sector is to proactively rise to the challenges faced. We hope that this conference will give academics, industrialists and policymakers a space to explore the opportunities and barriers to change."

The International Festival for Business (IFB) 2014 is the largest global concentration of business events during 2014. Maritime Logistics and Energy is a themed programme organised by Mersey Maritime and Shipping Innovation.

Dr Bows-Larkin added: "With Liverpool and the North West region reviving its proud maritime legacy, now is the perfect time to embed the climate change agenda within future plans."

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Manchester University. "Winds of change for the shipping sector." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2014. <>.
Manchester University. (2014, June 18). Winds of change for the shipping sector. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 29, 2017 from
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