The main power source for ships shifted long ago from wind to mechanical propulsion first with steam engines and just over a century ago to internal combustion engines using oil fuel.
Wind power though has never actually fully disappeared with many early mechanically propelled vessels retaining sails to complement the engine which in some cases was used only when sail power was not possible. Even today, some specialist sailing ships are built and there is an increasing interest in wind as an auxiliary power source along with other renewables.
The market in both the two- and four-stroke sectors is mature and dominated by a relatively small number of players. The four-stroke market is the more competitive of the two as the number of players is much higher and the number of ships fewer. Both areas have been highly innovative over the last 20 years, meeting the demands of environmental regulation and the commercial wishes of shipowners. The advent of the 2020 global sulphur cap and potentially more NOx emission control areas will see this trend continuing.
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