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Wind propulsion systems (WPS) for commercial ships can be a key ingredient to achieving the IMO green targets. Most WPS installations will operate in conjunction with propellers and marine engines in a hybrid mode, which will affect their performance. The present paper presents the development of a generic, fast, and easy tool to predict the propeller and engine performance variation, along with the cost, as a function of the wind power installed in two operation conditions: fixed ship speed and constant shaft speed. Specific focus is directed toward showing generic trends and trade-offs that inform economic decision-making. To this end, a key feature of the presented work is the ability to assess the cost–benefit of both controllable pitch propellers and fixed pitch propellers (CPPs and FPPs). This provides advice on when, in terms of WPS installation size, it is worthwhile to install which kind of propeller. CPPs are found to be more suitable for newly built wind-powered ships (>70% wind power), while a conventional FPP is satisfactory for wind-assisted ships (<70% wind power) and retrofitted installations. The results for a 91,373 GT bulk carrier showed that a WPS unloads the propeller and the engine, which leads to an increase in the propulsive efficiency and a detrimental rise of the engine specific fuel oil consumption. However, propeller gains are found to be greater than engine losses, which result in extra savings. Thus, not only does a WPS save fuel and corresponding pollutant emissions, but it also increases the entire propulsive efficiency.

Keywords

Windship; sailing ship; wind propulsion technologies; propulsion; performance prediction; marine engines; decarbonization; alternative propulsion

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