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Blowin' in the wind? Drivers and barriers for the uptake of wind propulsion in international shipping


  • Rojon, Isabelle
  • Dieperink, Carel


International shipping transports around 90% of global commerce and is of major importance for the global economy. Whilst it is the most efficient and environmentally friendly mode of transport, CO2 emissions from shipping activities still account for an estimated 3% of global emissions. One means of significantly reducing fuel consumption and thereby GHG emissions from shipping are wind propulsion technologies (i.e. towing kites, Flettner rotors and sails) – yet current market uptake is very low. Therefore, the aim of this article is to identify the barriers and drivers for the uptake of wind propulsion technologies. To this end, the theoretical approach of technological innovation systems is adopted. This approach combines structural system components with so-called system functions which represent the dynamics underlying structural changes in the system. The fulfillment of these functions is considered important for the development and diffusion of innovations. Based on newspaper and academic articles, online expert interviews and semi-structured interviews, the level of function fulfillment is evaluated, followed by the identification of structural drivers and barriers influencing function fulfillment. Third, the possibilities to influence these drivers and barriers are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Rojon, Isabelle & Dieperink, Carel, 2014. "Blowin' in the wind? Drivers and barriers for the uptake of wind propulsion in international shipping," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 394-402.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:67:y:2014:i:c:p:394-402
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.12.014

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Pan, Pengcheng & Sun, Yuwei & Yuan, Chengqing & Yan, Xinping & Tang, Xujing, 2021. "Research progress on ship power systems integrated with new energy sources: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    3. Elizabeth Lindstad & Henning Borgen & Gunnar S. Eskeland & Christopher Paalson & Harilaos Psaraftis & Osman Turan, 2019. "The Need to Amend IMO’s EEDI to Include a Threshold for Performance in Waves (Realistic Sea Conditions) to Achieve the Desired GHG Reductions," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(13), pages 1-17, July.
    4. Orestis Schinas & Niklas Bergmann, 2021. "The Short-Term Cost of Greening the Global Fleet," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(16), pages 1-32, August.
    5. Todd Chou & Vasileios Kosmas & Michele Acciaro & Katharina Renken, 2021. "A Comeback of Wind Power in Shipping: An Economic and Operational Review on the Wind-Assisted Ship Propulsion Technology," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(4), pages 1-16, February.
    6. Nepomuceno de Oliveira, Maurício Aguilar & Szklo, Alexandre & Castelo Branco, David Alves, 2022. "Implementation of Maritime Transport Mitigation Measures according to their marginal abatement costs and their mitigation potentials," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 160(C).
    7. Ángeles Longarela-Ares & Anxo Calvo-Silvosa & José-Benito Pérez-López, 2020. "The Influence of Economic Barriers and Drivers on Energy Efficiency Investments in Maritime Shipping, from the Perspective of the Principal-Agent Problem," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(19), pages 1-42, September.

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