Green solutions in maritime transport: sails, kites and nuclear energy

According to AXSMarine data, from the entire global fleet of bulk carriers, tankers and container ships, numbering almost 30.500 ships, only 3% are equipped with a more ecological dual-fuel drive. Meanwhile, CORE POWER, a British manufacturer of marine nuclear propulsion systems, presented in 2023 a project of a nuclear-powered container ship with a capacity of 2,800 TEU, using liquid salt reactors. According to Mikal Bøe, the company’s CEO, such a ship “will be faster, carry more cargo and cover millions of nautical miles on the same fuel, all without any emissions.”

In a strategic move demonstrating industry interest in eco-friendly propulsion, Japanese company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) acquired Airseas, the Seawing automated kite system manufacturer. The Seawing system enhances the basic propulsion of a sailing ship and can reportedly reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 20%. It can be installed on any merchant ship. As Airseas scales up production to meet demand for this innovative propulsion system, it is constructing a factory in Nantes, expected to open by 2026.

Chemship B.V. has made history by becoming the first owner of a chemical tanker in the world to install a wind drive – the VentoFoils system by Econowind. This innovative system, consisting of vertical wing-shaped elements that generate the driving force, is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an average of 10%. The VentoFoils sails are lightweight and space-efficient and can be automatically folded or erected as needed. Chemship B.V.’s pioneering move sets a powerful example for the industry, demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of adopting eco-friendly propulsion systems.

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