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    • Once upon a time before the industrial revolution big sail ships roamed the seas discovering new worlds and transporting people and goods around the world.

      Could we see a rebirth of big sail ships with the benefits of modern technology?

      Sweden ship builders Wallenius Marine, with support from the swedish government, are currently designing a new 7000 vehicle car carrier powered by giant sails, though not the kind we traditionally associate with sailing ships. Instead imagine five 260 feet tall aircraft wings standing vertically from the ship, each able to be individually rotated to make best advantage of the wind available.

      The shipping industry accounts for almost 3% of global man made greenhouse gas emissions and the 'Oceanbird' as this ship is called is estimated to output 1/10 of the usual CO2 output of a similar sized vessel per day, though an Atlantic crossing will take 12 days instead of the current 7.

    • Probably not. New technology is great (I especially like the notion of being able to sail directly up wind), but when you have to have motors anyway why not just invest in electric motors + batteries like the rest of the transportation industry.

    • Seems promising to me. It is encouraging to see industry and governments willing to experment and invest in green technology. (Especially this week in the US where we are inundated with political acrimony!)

    • But a transoceanic trip (especially during stormy weather) would use up the electricity stored in batteries. Look at the range of the typical electric car which does not have to deal with currents and waves and then think of the distances involved in transoceanic travel.

      There has to be some way to recharge the batteries. Solar Power alone would make for a very slow trip, so either you have petroleum based generators (which sort of defeats the purpose) or you're going to have to come up with some way to harness the energy of either the wind or the water just to get to the other side of the ocean.

    • Yep, but storage is so far behind the rest of the tech for powering things by electricity that it means it's not a viable solution to everything right now. There are better solutions in some cases, sail seems to be one of them.