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Sun shines on solar sails for giant cargo ships

Hello sailor! Shipping, along with aviation, is one of the world’s biggest emitters of CO2 but global trade is still massively dependent on this mode of transport for the flow of goods around the world.

Anything that can reduce shipping’s carbon footprint is a good thing, both for the environment and trade, and the folks over at Treehugger spotted this story about tankers with solar-powered sails.

Chinese shipping firm Cosco has signed a deal with Aussie company Solar Sailor for sails covered in solar panels that provide five per cent of the ship’s electricity. The company claims the sails will also harness enough wind to cut fuel costs by up to 40 per cent. Those are pretty impressive figures if they can be achieved in action.

And just think, shipping could be heading back to the golden wind-powered days of Sir Francis Drake and the Spanish Armada.

Anyhow, the original Treehugger article is here.

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