Lauren Eatwell is head of engineering at BAR Technologies where she is helping design new ways to decarbonize the maritime sector. Under her leadership, BAR Tech brought to market WindWings, large steel-and-glass sails that can be retrofitted onto existing cargo ships to harness wind power and reduce fuel consumption. In 2023, WindWings went on its maiden voyage, sailing on the cargo ship Pyxis Ocean from China to Brazil.
What is the single most important action you think the public, or a specific company or government, needs to take in the next year to advance the climate agenda?
We need to see more government investment in infrastructure that supports green technologies. This can be direct or through targeted grants and private partnerships. And we need more corporate investment in getting products to market. Small-scale technology firms can innovate and develop quickly, but they need a leap of faith from forward-thinking, powerful industry partners to get those first products to market. We have made that transition at BAR Tech, but we will lose potentially great technologies from the market as others struggle.
What is a climate technology that isn’t getting the attention or funding it deserves?
The shipping industry is responsible for nearly 3% of the world’s emissions, and more annual CO2 emissions than some entire western countries. By harnessing wind energy for ship propulsion in a high-tech, modern, and efficient manner, we can dramatically reduce those emissions with a technology that pays for its own investment. Wind power also complements other green initiatives, such as alternative fuels. It enables an easier transition to those cleaner fuels by reducing fuel consumption, and the associated costs of fuel supply chain production and transportation.
What’s the most important climate legislation that could pass in the next year?
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) should ask all countries bunkering fuel to ensure that any carbon taxes collected in the future will be spent on CO2 reduction and cleaner shipping. The European Trading System does make similar commitments, but the IMO should push all bunkering nations (those that could collect a carbon tax) to make similar commitments.
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