Sometimes technology of days past is worth returning to, especially when it can be combined with the technological advances of the present day. Case in point: ships harnessing wind power with sails, only this time creating them from solar panels instead of canvas sheets.
You’ve undoubtedly seen pictures of these massive cargo ships and their billowing sails, but until recently, this sight was reserved for the history books. Now, a company by the name of Eco Marine Power is looking to bring it back with a technology called the Aquarius Solar Wind Marine Power System.
This company is not the first to tackle the task of making cargo ships more eco-friendly and energy efficient, but their model seems to hold the most potential. Using both solar energy and wind power, ships could drastically reduce their fuel consumption, which in turn reduces their carbon footprint.
Shipping companies reluctant to make the change are likely to be persuaded by their potential return on investment. In addition, Eco Marine Power states that the systems will be easy to install, require little to no maintenance by the ship’s crew.
The first prototype, slated for release in 2012, will be designed for large cargo ships, but the company remains hopeful that the same technology could be used for small ships like coastal freighters, passenger ferries and tourist boats.
The jury may still be out on the Eco Marine Power’s plan, but if they are able to deliver on what they promise, the impact on the shipping industry could be monumental.
Photo Credit: Tomorrow Never Knows via Flickr CC