The global cargo shipping industry accounts for roughly 2 percent of all greenhouse emissions worldwide. Soon, an advanced clean energy ship could finally deliver an eco-friendly solution for hauling freight across the ocean.
Automakers understand that ‘electrifying’ our transport sector will be crucial in lowering dangerous emissions to mitigate a climate crisis. But two areas in which electrifying our transportation has proven to be difficult include commercial aviation—and heavy-duty cargo shipping.
A prototype announced in September by Wallenius Marine could finally change that.
Powered by a series of massive retractable “sails” that resemble airplane wings, the OceanBird will reportedly carry 7,000 cars (or any weight equivalent) across the ocean while cutting carbon emissions by a stunning 90 percent—a game-changer for a global industry that currently carries an oversized carbon tally.
When fully extended, the OceanBird’s upright, wing-like sails stand a mighty 262 feet (80 meters) tall and use the power of rushing air to propel the ship forward—crucially achieving a speed nearly matching that of ships powered by fossil fuel.
New software advancements will utilize mathematical algorithms