Wind-powered shipping and cargo transportation may sound like something that died out in the early 1800s when fossil fuels became popular. But the sails have turned, and wind power is making a comeback. 

Recently Lloyd’s Register, the world’s first marine classification society and a leader in the maritime innovation space, approved Rotor Sails for use on a Newcastlemax bulk carrier. 

Okay — so what does that mean and how does it work? Rotor Sails are tall cylinders that can be built into cargo ships, and they spin with the help of small motors. When a ship moves, and more specifically when wind hits Rotor Sails at the right angle, thrust is generated to propel the ship forward. As you might realize, Rotor Sails aren’t a carbon-free solution. You can think of them as a stepping stone, similar to a hybrid car, that significantly reduces impact on the environment.  And the approval of Lloyd’s Register to add them to a bulk carrier is a big step in keeping up with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) regulations. 

The shipping industry alone accounts for almost 3% of global carbon emissions but the IMO has created a legally-binding climate change treaty to reduce the impact of the industry. Technologies like Rotor Sails can reduce fuel usage by between 20 to 30%, saving both on fuel costs and environmental damage.

We’re only skimming the surface on this topic here. If you want a deeper dive into the power of wind-powered shipping and tech, check out the video about Why Wind Powered Ships May Be The Future of Transportation.

And if you want to learn about the recent advancements in Rotor Sails, check out the Anemoi press release.

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Greg Makrigiorgos
Greg Makrigiorgos lives in LA  and has been writing for 10+ years. Labeled a minimalist since kindergarten, he loves writing short-form copy  — especially for topics that need more exposure to get the recognition they deserve.

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