The shipping industry is looking to the past and future in an attempt to address its heinous air pollution record, with a return to wind power as well as battery power for upcoming ocean-going cargo vessels.
Perhaps most striking is the Oceanbird roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) vehicle carrier that has taken its first order from Norewgian shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen.
The company has already received positive feedback about the 21st Century take on sailing ships from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.
Oceanbird’s developer, Wallenius Marine, has also indicated it will develop the wind-powered concept for other shipping segments.
Meanwhile in Asia, a consortium of Japanese companies is collaborating on an all-electric 62-metre oil tanker that, ironically, will be used to deliver fossil fuels that will be used to power other vessels off the coast of Japan from March next year.
Packing a huge 3.5MWh battery pack that can also deliver emergency power to disaster-stricken coastal areas where needed, the tanker will not contribute to the toxic nitrous oxide and sulphur oxide pollution usually associated with portland areas serviced by large ships. It will also reduce noise and vibration for crew members and reduce the carbon footprint of operators.
The propulsion system will be manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and the battery pack supplied by Corvus Energy.