I'm not optimistic about the prospects. During the 1970s energy crisis, there was the similar Dynaship concept. That never went anywhere.
Anyone actually done the math? The mass of these vessels may be a little bit more than sails can handle.. Perhaps "cargo" ships can do it, considering the average weight of a container, but what about the true guzzlers of the ocean, that is, TANKERS?
Andrew Kennedy
Looks like the ship looses 30% of its container carrying capacity to its sails. Perhaps it should have a tender behind. A butty as the non-powered canal barges used to be called.
Actually, although I *just* left a comment about doing the physics involved, I have to say,there could not *possibly* be anything BUT a NET GAIN.. which will mean reduced costs, translating (hopefully) into reduced cost to us (the consumer)... Wow... Chinese goods are already at a botom, price-wise, how could they *possibly* go any lower.. although IF THEY DO NOT CHANGE, count it as a GOOD thing.. there is a push in China, to increase the wages, and working conditions, of the average worker.. this may *just* make it possible!!!! So i say support it!!
It is a nice bit of public relations but the reality is that it would take more than 30 years to replace current cargo ships and that is supposing that 100% of the new ships adopt this technology. With the passenger ships using large sails of this type it has been a marketing gimmick with the sails in use only when entering or leaving a port and diesel power is used for the remainder of the cruise.
Cargo ships produce more particulate pollution with the bunker fuel sludge that they burn than all the cars, buses, trucks, and trains of the world combined. A side effect of global trade is an increase in cargo ship traffic and with it an increase in the type of pollution that has the greatest impact on global warming.
Adrian Akau
I think that this type of sail should be compared with kite sales: "SkySails has a cargo ship towing kite system of 8 and 16 tons, with future versions of 32 tons scheduled to be available in 2011 and 130 tons in the near future. A kite force of 8 tons is equivalent to a 600-1,000kW main shipboard engine. Running partly on wind power could save an average of 10-35% on the fuel used, and fuel consumption could be reduced by 50% in the best wind conditions."
Did anyone ever watch beyond 2000 back in the 80s? This is not new, maybe now they may actually do it, back then they were talking about using the propellor only as a back up during storms but ships have grown alot since then. Only 30% saving?
If ships all used this pollution would be far lower, Ship produce like they were the 6th largest country if they were a nation.
That said kites are better in most cases and high ships like container ones can't use any because of capsize risk.
Shipping cost are high and getting higher that along with recent Chinese labor, energy costs, Yuan increasing with American productivity and people switching to longer lasting quality products means the US is about to regain a nice amount of manufacturing.
I'm building 2kw windgens and match the Chinese on price but beat the pants off them in quality.
Walt Stawicki
can't even get double hulled tankers. gods law: profit to the stockholder, no other concerns. call me pessimistic, but admit my reality orientation
Good idea.
They might want to add other new ideas like maybe a "shark skin" type textured hull surface which would only add the extra weight and cost of a little extra paint.