EnergySail promises wind-solar combo for cleaner shipping

The Aquarius Eco Ship concept has a rigid sail design that harnesses wind and solar power.

(Credit: Eco Marine Power)

Many shipping companies are experimenting with adding sails to cargo vessels. Here’s a design in which the sails are also solar panels.

EnergySail is a concept by Japan’s Eco Marine Power that harnesses and stores wind and solar power to reduce fuel costs and pollution. It would work as an additional source of power to a ship’s main engines.

The devices would be fitted on anything from large bulk ore carriers to cable-laying ships, ferries, and coast guard patrol vessels, according to the company. An automatic control system would orient the sails and panels to catch the wind and sun.

Large vessels such as oil tankers could see annual fuel savings of 10 to 20 percent. But when combined with optimized hull design, fuel cell technology, waste heat recovery, and an advanced electrical propulsion system, the EnergySail setup could generate fuel savings of 40 percent or more depending on the type of vessel, Eco Marine Power says.

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