For several years now, many naval firms have proposed bringing back sails on modern ships in order to reduce fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Ideas have ranged from utilizing solar sails to employing old-fashioned sheet sails. But now Dutch company Dykstra Naval Architects has put forward plans for a new concept sail-powered ship. Dubbed ‘The Ecoliner Fair Winds‘, the vessel has four massive “automatic” sails that use satellite-based weather data to harness the wind and calculate the most optimal route for the ship. The system could enable shipping fleets the world over to reduce the CO2 footprint of their fleet.
What is also impressive about Dykstra’s design is that it’s a hybrid. In addition to four mast mount sails, the ship uses diesel-electric propellers. However, it is the four impressive sails that draw the eye and allow the Ecoliner to get up to 18 knots on the open ocean. It is hoped that in order to save fuel, the engines would only be used when winds drop, or for performing docking maneuvers.
The computer-controlled sails are also super-efficient thanks to how they use satellite positioning systems and weather tracking data to signal currents and potentially hazardous conditions.
Working with Fair Transport, Dykstra hopes to develop the Ecoliner in the near future. However, as with all new technology, it will be expensive to build. It is hoped that the expected fuel savings will be enough to at least recoup the expenses of a typical 30-year container ship lifespan.
Via Green Optimistic