Innovative cargo ship uses wind power to cut emissions by 90%

With shipping responsible for around 2.2 percent of all emissions, there is a great need for more sustainable ships. The good news is that Swedish ship manufacturer Wallenius Marine has unveiled the OceanBird — a state-of-the-art vessel design that will be able to ship large, heavy cargos over long-distance trips, with 90 percent fewer emissions than conventional ships.

While delivering considerably fewer emissions, the size of the ship is actually not too far from typical shipping vessels, with an estimated capacity to ferry 7,000 cars across the Atlantic, a trip that would take approximately 12 days, instead of the current 7 days it takes to do the crossing.

It measures 200 meters in length, 40 in width, and 100 meters in height. The most distinguishing feature, however, is its five unique wings, reminiscent of those found on airplanes, and which are designed to channel the forces of the wind to power the vessel.

The retractable wing sails are 80 meters high and controlled to harness the wind in the most efficient way possible. The vessel will also be fitted with engines for getting in and out of ports, and in cases of emergency.

The first vessel will be a cargo ship, but the concept can be applied to ships of all types, including cruise ships. According to the company, a fully built vessel may make its maiden voyage as soon as 2024.

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