Using the wind for sustainable shipping

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First zero-emission cargo ship
By Jerry Brownstein
The Green Shipping Program is a public-private partnership for the development of environmentally advanced shipping projects. They created a competition to develop, build and operate a zero-emission bulk cargo carrier. The Norwegian Ship Design company, in partnership with other firms, has won the contract, and they are moving forward with the development of the world’s first zero-emission cargo ship.

The name of the project is “Powered by Nature”, as a significant part of the energy required to operate the vessel will be harvested directly from nature through two large rotor sails. A rotor sail is designed to use what physicists call the ‘Magnus effect’, which means that the wind hitting a spinning body creates propulsion. The rotor sail is basically a large cylinder that is constantly spinning, and as the wind hits it the ship is propelled forward.

The vessel will sail mostly in the open waters of the North Sea, where conditions are optimal for wind-assisted propulsion. The wind energy will be in addition to a non-polluting engine that is fuelled by hydrogen. The hydrogen will be stored aboard the vessel in compressed form. The ship also features a unique design that increases energy efficiency. This includes a highly efficient hull to counter drifting, and a specially developed keel with minimal drag. The ship is expected enter operation in 2024.


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