The SGSA has developed the design for 100% renewable powered ships with worldwide applications.

The sailing hybrid design combines existing proven technologies in new ways 

21st century automated sail system

  • masts rotate to capture maximum wind
  •  a push-button operation from the bridge ensures safety
  • FAST ship is run with the same number of crew as conventional ship
  • No ropes, rigging on deck to obstruct cargo handling
  • Conventional engine ensures schedules met
  • to achieve 100% renewable fuelled with biofuels bought through long term supply agreements giving long term fuel cost certainty

Model tested at Southampton University’s Wolfson Unit  for Marine Technology and Industrial Aerodynamics

Performance data analysed by Met Office and UCL. Conclusion that design would save 50% fuel on routes tested

Design exploits abundant, infinitely available free fuel – wind. This energy source is exclusively available to the sector, giving vessels some autonomy from traditional bunkering constraints

Many modern trade routes evolved out of wind powered ships. Analysis using satellite observations of current shipping routes show that globally there is still an excellent alignment between sea areas with high wind strengths and the routes sailed by ships

Sailing hybrid propulsion most suitable for small med sized ships where a greater proportion of operational costs are related to fuel and wind propulsion can deliver a higher proportion of the energy required

81% of ships in global fleet fall into this size category. SGSA estimates 10000 ships suitable for conversion to sailing hybrid (ie clear deck space, windy routes)

Small and medium ships account for almost 1% TOTAL GHG emissions

potential to save 1% total GHG emissions

Small ships are not that small, it's a description that distinguishes ships with the particular capability to take smaller loads. 81% of the global fleet are small to medium sized ships, they account for about 4% of the total transport work undertaken across the world. They carry essential commodities and energy feedstocks without which our lifestyles would be severely compromised.

But small ships are responsible for about 25% of the emissions produced by the whole fleet because they cannot introduce the economies of scale enjoyed by the huge container vessels. Estimates of total GHG emissions from the whole of the global fleet are about 2-3% and without clear carbon emission reduction targets are set to rise. So, this project has an opportunity to save nearly 1% of total GHG emissions. (Only 99 other equally ambitious projects and that's that issue dealt with!)

Small and medium ships are buffeted by volatile fuel prices.

And new regulatory pressures, including MARPOL regulations on SOx and NOx, 'Energy Efficiency Design Index' and 'Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan' heap extra pressure on the sector.

The shipping sector may or may not be included in the Climate Change Agreements being negotiated at COP21 in Paris but in or out shipping, as the servant of global trade, is impacted. Cargo owners want and need measurable low carbon ships on their supply chains, global trade patterns are rapidly changing in response to global warming.

Commercially attractive low carbon ships that are competitive in today's world become even more lucrative into the future.

small ships - essential links

Small and medium sized ships are the vital element in an optimised interconnected global fleet. They act as feeder vessels for large ships providing access to local ports avoiding the use of more polluting, congesting overland transport. Small ships carry essential commodity and energy cargoes to underpin our economies and connect vulnerable island archipelagos with mainland resources.

The small ship end of the global fleet is under greatest pressure; operating an increasingly elderly and inefficient fleet often below break-even.