By Gemma Childe on 27th Jun 2012
A state of the art wind-powered cargo ship could be the key for the shipping industry to enter a new era of fossil fuel-free technology.
The ship’s sails are modelled on the Maltese Falcon, one of the largest luxury yachts in the world and the design comes at a critical time as the industry faces the likelihood of increased greenhouse gas emissions.
The new B9 cargo ship boasts a sail design called Dyna-rig, which uses technology dating back to the 1960s. The Maltese Falcon has crossed the Atlantic twice and has achieved a top speed of 24.9 knots, using the Dyna-rig system. It only uses its sails 61 per cent of the time and its auxiliary power is provided by biogas.
It is more superior to canvas sail because it is more durable and the electronically-operated system requires no rigging lines or hand operation and it manages the changing wind conditions.
B9 Shipping is the Irish-based firm behind the ship, which is part of the B9 Energy Group. The group was created in 1992 with the specific purpose of developing renewable energy projects. It plans to produce biogas for the cargo ship primarily from a food waste stream, which will power a Rolls Royce Bergen gas engine.
Studies will be carried out by the University of Southampton’s Wolfson Unit for Marine Technology and Industrial Aerodynamics as work on the new ship progresses.
This will include economic practicalities as well as performance studies on hull shapes. The final design will also take into consideration the work flow of the shipping industry, for example loading and unloading cargo.
Last year Eco Marine Power unveiled a cargo ship sail design that incorporates solar panels and the University of Tokyo recently looked at a cargo ship design powered with low cost metal sails.