Could solar sails be the shipping solution?

A new low emission ship concept uses rigid sails covered in solar panels to generate clean power and slash energy consumption, with the aim of cleaning up the polluting shipping […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A new low emission ship concept uses rigid sails covered in solar panels to generate clean power and slash energy consumption, with the aim of cleaning up the polluting shipping industry.

Eco Marine Power’s Aquarius Eco Ship design is being developed to allow large ocean-going ships such as oil tankers or cruise liners to harness the power of the wind and sun.

The firm says the concept is flexible and highly configurable so it can be applied to ships of varying sizes, types and purposes.

An advanced electrical propulsion system, efficient LED lighting, air lubrication and waste heat recovery technologies mean its emissions would be lowered even further.

Eco Marine Power says this combination of technologies could lead to fuel savings of 40% or more and dramatically reduce sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.

It adds an Aquarius Eco Ship could include up to 1MW of solar power and enough energy storage modules so that the ship would not need to use auxiliary diesel generators whilst in port.

The rigid sails for example can be lowered and stored when not in use or during extreme weather or emergencies.