Wind-powered cargo ship flies the flag for shipping decarbonisation
The world's first wind-powered cargo ship, Mitsubishi's Pyxis Ocean, set sail from China this week after being fitted with fibreglass WindWings.
The idea of using wind to power a ship may seem obvious. After all, the earliest recorded example of a ship with sails was found painted on an Egyptian vase from C.3500 BC. But the proposition becomes more challenging when the vessel in question weighs 200,000 tonnes.
Each WindWing fitted on a shipping vessel can save almost 1.5 tonnes of fuel per day, equivalent to 1,500 litres of diesel fuel or, for a visual: approximately 750 full large Coke bottles. The sails have the potential to decarbonise cargo vessels by up to 30%, and more, if shipping vessels use alternative fuels, such as Hydrogen.
Harnessing the wind is a sustainable and cost-effective way to reduce emissions from shipping, as it is, of course, completely free. More widespread technology adoption would be a big step in the right direction — especially for an industry with historically more complex decarbonisation challenges, including a need for energy-dense fuel and over-reliance on fossil fuels. The industry currently accounts for 3% of human-caused CO2 emissions — a statistic that spurred the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) goal of reducing annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50% by 2050. The manufacturer of the WindWings is Swedish-based Yara Technologies, a subsidiary of Yara International, one of the holdings in CIRCA5000’s C5KF ETF. More on this story.