Shipping is an energy-efficient way of transporting goods but the shipping industry needs to become more sustainable.
Maritime transport emits around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually and is responsible for about three percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, even more than airplanes.
If the industry was a country, it would be the sixth biggest polluter, above Germany.
Alfawall Oceanbird is a Sweden-based venture which is working towards taking wind propulsion technology from a marine concept to a commercial reality – the technology enables decreasing the fuel consumption of a vessel through the use of sails or another wind capture device.
“The shipping industry has a big impact, but it’s also because it’s a very big industry in that way …. So there is a lot more we can do in order to get it better in the future,” Niclas Dahl, Managing Director of AlfaWall Oceanbird, told CGTN Europe.
The system uses wing sails, which the venture said has more in common with modern aircraft than traditional sailing ships. Fully applied it can reduce emissions by 90 percent on the largest ocean-going vessels.
Dahl said that sailing has been used for thousands of years but in the past, it required a lot of people to take up or take down the sails, how to navigate them and how to handle them – and today’s technology is changing the use of sails.
“For us, it’s about the sustainability. Green shipping is something that we’ve been working on and driving for a long time. We’re in this free of charge, going forward. You have no emissions. You also reduce a lot …. So I think wind has a lot of great potential of really solving the issues that we have,” Dahl explained.
He said they intend to install the sails on their first ship in 2024 and have a newly-built fully sailing ship going out in 2026.
In addition to reducing air emissions, the initiative will also decrease sound pollution in the water. The Oceanbird vessels would be far quieter in the water, since the sound will not be produced from generators or engines.
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