Researchers from The University of Manchester have identified a new strategy that could help the shipping sector reduce its carbon emissions by up to a quarter. The strategy involves using modern sails in combination with efficient routing systems to reduce uncertainty from unpredictable weather patterns.
The international shipping sector is responsible for around 2-3% of global carbon emissions. The sector has committed to reducing its emissions by 50% by 2050, but this target is not ambitious enough to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Modern sails are one of the most promising technologies for reducing emissions from shipping. Sails can provide direct energy from the wind, which reduces the need for ships to use their engines. However, the effectiveness of sails can be affected by unpredictable weather patterns.
The new strategy proposed by the researchers from The University of Manchester involves using weather routing systems to adjust ship routes in real time based on the latest weather forecasts. This helps to reduce the uncertainty from unpredictable weather and can lead to significant savings in terms of carbon emissions.
The researchers tested their strategy using a simulation of 1,080 ship journeys. The results showed that the strategy could reduce carbon emissions by up to 25%.
While the new strategy is promising, it is important to note that it does not completely eliminate the impact of unpredictable weather. Further research is needed to understand how ships can achieve the maximum possible carbon savings in practice.
However, the research from The University of Manchester offers a clearer understanding of the potential of wind propulsion to help the shipping sector meet its carbon reduction goals. If adopted widely, this technology could have a significant impact on global emissions.