Transporting up to 7,000 vehicles from one side of the Atlantic to the other, with virtually no environmental impact. Not science fiction but a project called Oceanbird, represented by a huge sailing cargo ship. Technically a WPCC (Wind-Powered Car Carrier), the result of a collaboration between the design company Wallenius Marine, the maritime consultancy SSPA and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The idea was born to find an alternative to low-cost fossil fuels, used in the shipping industry: they are responsible for about 2% of global carbon emissions related to transport. A percentage that may seem low but which, according to experts, is growing exponentially and is not a little worrying. OceanBird is therefore a candidate as an excellent green solution to be applied to ships carrying goods around the world.
Mix of aeronautical and naval technology, the Swedish ship 200 meters long and 40 meters wide with a displacement that is around 32 thousand tons. A comparison: the new Costa Smeralda, Costa Cruises’ flagship, is longer (337 meters) but narrower (37) and less high, given that the Volare promenade is 65 meters above the water level while the tip of the five wing sails goes up to 105 meters. They will produce the energy to propel and manage OceanBird, controlled by a sophisticated algorithm. Should there not be enough wind (or to enter and exit ports, where it would be impossible to maneuver under sail), the ship will start an ecological fuel engine. In the opposite case of excessive wind, the system allows the reduction of the exposed surface – exactly as happens for sailboats – so that the height of the ship above the waterline increases to 45 meters in the case of buriana.
The wind super ferry, holding an average speed of 10 knots, will cross the Atlantic in about 12 days, while current ships can use as many as 8. In doing so, OceanBird will complete its voyage by reducing the emissions produced by classic transport ships by 90%, which consume up to 300 tons of fuel per day. In light of the water tests of the scale model and the launch scheduled for 2024, the consortium is studying a hull design that can make the ship more aerodynamic, so as to increase its speed and efficiency. The Wallenius Marine project – which was among the first companies to have zero emissions for merchant ships as a priority objective – should also be considered as a great laboratory for future projects. For the record, the IMO – the international organization for maritime navigation – has set as a goal, by 2030, the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions for transport by at least 40%
January 27, 2021 (change January 27, 2021 | 09:37)
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