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Adding Sails to Ships to Save Money and the Planet

Global Brief

Adding Sails to Ships to Save Money and the Planet

The maritime shipping industry contributes around 3 percent of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, and industry leaders are exploring ways to reduce their carbon footprint and save money. One promising innovation is the addition of specialized sails to cargo ships. In a collaboration between Cargill, BAR Technologies, Mitsubishi Corporation and Yara Marine Technologies, a cargo ship was retrofitted with cutting-edge rectangular sails called WindWings that tower nearly 123 feet. By harnessing wind power, the developers hope to save 30 percent in fuel expenditures.

Unlike traditional canvas sails, WindWings are comprised of rigid mechanical panels that rotate and spin based on computer instructions designed to maximize wind usage. The wings fold down to permit the ship to pass under bridges and allow for loading and unloading of cargo. This is one of many steps being taken by the maritime shipping industry to reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2050.

Photo credit: Cargill and BAR Technologies/CanvaPro

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