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Natural propulsion in ship design conference

The New York Webb Institute, Wind Support NYC and MARIN will host a new free virtual conference to learn directly from leaders in the field how wind propulsion accelerates the transition to zero carbon ships. The conference will take place in New York state on November 16 and will be broadcasted live. The conference will introduce to the audience the design of hybrid merchant ships capable of harnessing free and renewable energies available onboard – wind, solar and hydro – to improve vessel efficiency, independent of the fuel or type of engine used.

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The conference could not be more timely. In the United States, 80% of goods are imported aboard oceangoing vessels and maritime vessel emissions account for three percent of worldwide emissions. As various regulatory bodies and the Paris Accord impose stricter emissions regimes on global shipping, it is important to determine how to meet targets when sustainable green fuels will not be available for another 10-20 years.
Vessel efficiency needs to be improved, carbon intensity (CII) reduced to remain in compliance with upcoming IMO regulations and one method is clear: near-zero emission shipping is possible today using wind propulsion.

In the morning, MARIN will deliver an overview of the context of decarbonisation of the shipping sector, as well as an academic course introducing aerodynamics, hydrodynamics concepts, and sailing performance assessment to both students and external guests. Dr. Sergio Perez, PhD, professor of marine engineering at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, will set the stage for the afternoon: he will present an update of a 1975 MARAD (U.S. Maritime Administration) report which concluded that commercial ships using sail power were not economically viable when compared with engine-powered vessels.

The 2021 update concludes that it is economically smart to use sail at this point as a principal means of propulsion, with one issue to be resolved: the size of the vessel and especially the height of the mast. Directly answering Dr. Sergio Perez questions, industry leaders will present the technologies currently available and capable to address the issues raised by Dr. Perez in his 2021 update.

The conference will conclude with case studies, i.e. real life examples of merchant ships powered by the wind.


Natural propulsion for transport & shipping: potential and expectations in the current context
Steady aerodynamics and hydrodynamics
Maneuvering & Seakeeping – Unsteady hydrodynamics
OceanWings wingsails technology
Satori, a cutting-edge weather routine system
Feasibility study of a wind-powered bulk carrier
The Neoliner Project, an innovative, low-carbon transportation alternative


Roger Strevens, VP Global Sustainability at Wallenius Wilhelmsen
Dr. Sergio Perez, Ph.D., professor at the US Merchant Marine Academy
Jean Zanuttini, CEO of Neoline
Gerard Dykstra, Founder of Dykstra Naval Architects
Guilhem Gaillarde, head of SHIPS at MARIN
Rogier Eggers, Senior Project Manager at MARIN

Bradley Golden, professor of naval architecture and marine engineering at Webb Institute
“The maritime industry has been a driving force around the world throughout history, facilitating today’s global community through technological developments, international commerce, and communication. Today, we also recognize the impact of our industry on climate change and the responsibility we have to help lead the efforts to reduce the effects of emissions on our world. Society expects us to do this, and there’s no better way to accomplish this goal than to raise awareness of the problem and potential solutions with the next generation of our industry’s leaders. Webb Institute is proud to work with our partners on this conference and inspire the developments that will shape the future of the maritime industry,” said Bradley Golden, professor of naval architecture and marine engineering at Webb Institute.

Laurent Corbel, CEO of Wind Support NYC
“Near zero emission shipping is already underway, with a significant increase in sail-powered tonnage on the verge of coming online in 2023/2024. Three projects – Neoline, TOWT, and SailCargo – are advancing toward the ability to ship using natural propulsion at scale. These new fleets, currently in development, will boost the transition to zero-emission shipping. U.S. exporters/importers can commit today for near-zero emissions shipping in 2024."

Guilhem Gaillarde, head of the Ships department at MARIN
“Operating as an independent foundation since 1932 to inspire the maritime sector with innovation, MARIN has set-up 10 years ago an event to promote and share knowledge on zero emission shipping and alternative power use: the BlueWeek. Such an event, organised yearly in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, has seen in the last decade a huge development of wind power techniques. We are today extremely glad to present natural propulsion technologies to students at Webb and in the US. Through this, we hope to inspire future naval architects to create and build the sustainable ships of tomorrow.”
MARIN Natural propulsion in ship design conference