Wind Ships

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The shipping industry is working to replace fuel-guzzling cargo ships with wind-powered ones. These are not like the cloth sail vessels used by the Portuguese to pioneer globalization. They are modern hybrids with wings, kites, and sails.

For instance, a French architect created a 121-meter long roll-on/roll-off (RORO) vessel that has four Oceanwings, or fully automated wing-sales. The plan is to use it to transport components of the Ariadne 6 rocket from Europe to Guiana.

A company in the Netherlands is working on a suction wing system that can control the speed of a vessel. It is said to be just as fast as fuel-powered ships.

Another French company called Seawing is working on a technology that uses a giant kite that would help propel ships forward and reduce fuel consumption by 20%.

The most futuristic design, however, is the Norwegian Vidskip. The entire hull of the ship is a gigantic wing.

These designs are still in their infancy but support is growing. The International Windship Association (IWSA) now has over 100 members since its inception in 2014.



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