As the need for more eco-friendly modes of transport become more necessary, the world becomes forced to adapt. If you watch much American news, it might seem as though the world is doing nothing to address these needs, but if you look hard enough, you might find some hope. Sailing boats with only the wind as a power source is one of the oldest transportation technologies in history. Some smart folks have gone back to our roots and cooked up something equally sci-fi future tech, as it is medieval. Make way for OceanBird.
Wallenius Marine is the company behind the wings (sails) of the OceanBird. Sails, in this case, aren’t quite like the canvas sails of our sea-fairing past. The OceanBird will utilize the aeronautics geometry of plane wings and helicopter rotors to push the ship and its max payload of 7,000 vehicles along the crests of the briny deep.
So what exactly is the OceanBird?
Let’s face it cars and trucks are a massive contributor to climate change and the suffering of our planet. But it’s not just the gasoline or diesel we use to power them individually; it’s also the way we transport them from country to country. Cargo ships are massive things that require an enormous amount of fuel and, in turn, produce tons of carbon dioxide. The mighty OceanBird was cooked up to help with this problem.
It takes a cargo ship an average of eight days to cross the Atlantic ocean. The OceanBird is projected to be able to do it in twelve, but require very little fuel to do it, according to Car and Driver.
Later in the article, Car and Driver quotes Science Alert’s reporting on the impressive scale of the OceanBird; “The retractable wing sails stand 80 meters (262 feet) tall and will be controlled by algorithms that calculate exactly how to make the most efficient use of wind power out on the ocean. An auxiliary engine, running on clean fuel, will be available as a backup and for getting in and out of harbors.”
How will it impact shipping?
The OceanBird will essentially be the Prius of the sea. A hybrid ship that starts under its own power, but then extends its massive sails and continues powered by the wind. This allows for not only a 90 percent drop in emissions but frees up the OceanBird’s hull for a sleeker and more refined design.
The sails will be controlled by a series of sensors that go to a computer, which will use algorithms to best utilize the power of the wind, according to Car and Driver. The shipping industry alone is responsible for two percent of all the fossil fuel emissions in the world. Imagine the impact renewable clean energy could have if implemented here. Not to mention if the cruise industry could adopt this method.
Sadly, we won’t see the OceanBird any time soon
Car and Driver says the OceanBird is only in the design phase right now, but Wallenius Marine hopes the design is exciting enough to garner a lot of excitement.
Apart from the clear environmental benefits of this design, it looks incredible. The OceanBird is a no-brainer. Build prettier boats that will also help us not destroy the planet. All aboard the OceanBird!