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James Burgess

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James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…

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Giant Sails cut Fuel Consumption of Cargo Ship by 30%

Giant Sails cut Fuel Consumption of Cargo Ship by 30%

All ships used to travel around the world driven by the power of the wind buffeting against their sails. Nowadays cargo ships travel, admittedly much faster, by burning diesel in huge engines to drive propellers, and emit huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. With the current focus on reducing carbon emissions, which has led to hybrid vehicles, it is about time someone started to build hybrid ships.

Back in 2008 a hybrid cargo ship was chartered by the US Navy to deliver supplies from Europe to the US. The MS Beluga SkySail used a giant kite to help power the freighter along when wind conditions were favourable. It took two months to complete the voyage, a bit longer than normal, but the use of wind power enabled the ship to save about $1000 a day.

However, since then little progress has been made into the idea of wind powered cargo ship; until now. A new concept has been designed by a team at the University of Tokyo which uses huge telescopic sails set along the deck of the freighter.

The sails will be made from 5 sheets of aluminium and fibre reinforced plastic, and will each stand 164 feet tall and 65 feet wide. The 5 sheets which make up each sail will be individually controlled by motors to be raised or lowered depending on the strength of the wind, or turned on an angel in order to catch the most wind.

Kiyoshi Uzawa, the professor in charge of the team, said that they predict their sails will cut fuel consumption by about 30 percent. They have already performed several simulations for common routes, such as Yokohama to Seattle and found that the ships only used about two thirds of the normal fuel consumption.

At $2.5 million for each sail, they are not cheap, but with the expected fuel savings the cost should be made back within five to ten years (although there is no mention as to the life-span of the sails).

The next step for Uzawa and his team is to build a half-sized prototype for sea trials in 2016.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com

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  • Denis on May 16 2012 said:
    risks it costs over $1 million USD to put up ONE wimlnidl so.. when you see 500 or 600 or 800 of them in a big field, you can calculate the cost One of them produces enough electricity to power, what . 5 houses? of all of the wimlnidls we have ALLLL OVER the us . thousands .. it only accounts for 1% of our energy. also, they are cool, but it sucks having millions of 400 foot tall wimlnidls dotting the what would otherwise be a beautiful landscape. also, there are only certain places in the world, certain types of landscapes that are truly conducive of having wimlnidls. and of those places, most of them have them already. and even there, they don't ALL ALWAYS spin.. when they aren't spinning, they aren't producing.benefits . that's 1% less coal that we have to burn. but realistically, there doesn't HAVE to be ANY coal burned at this point. it could all be nuclear. meltdowns are very very very very very very very very very very very unlikely. the only reason they've ever had one was because the staff there didn't keep up with the equipment because they didn't feel they had to.. and of course there was a meltdown. The problem is the waste it produces. germany subsidizes solar power they allow the sale of solar energy by the public. because of that, there are TONS AND TONS AND TONS of solar panels all over the place, and about 46% of their energy COMES from solar whereas 2% of the US's power comes from solar. problem is, if it's dark, it's not producing there are ways to convertt water into electricity, but governments won't allow it. sea water could be filtered, have electrolites added, hydrolicized to an "unstable" liquid, and burned by machines that generate electricity there's an over abundance of sea water, and hell the level is getting higher each year is it not? the only biproduct of such a thing would be atomized water not co2.

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