Swedes to build wind-powered transatlantic cargo ship (yes, it’s a sailboat)

Swedes to build wind-powered transatlantic cargo ship (yes, it’s a sailboat)

As the world's natural resources become more and more depleted, everyone is turning to renewable sources of energy.

One of which is wind. Wind is helping millions of people reduce their reliance on coal and fossil fuels to generate power, as well as mitigating the impact of climate change on the planet. One downside to wind energy is harvesting it. The most common method is large, cumbersome turbines that convert moving air into kinetic energy and then into electric energy. This process takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money, then the maintenance costs just add to it. What if it was possible to harvest wind directly?

Wallenius Sailing Ship Cargo

Giant Sailboat

A group of Swedish engineers had exactly the same idea and decided to find a wind to use the wind to power vehicles, namely, a cargo ship that transports cars. Swedish consortium including the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, maritime consultancy SSPA, and lead by ship designers Wallenius Marine has developed the wind Powered Car Carrier, or wPCC for short.

This transatlantic ship is capable of carrying up to 7,000 vehicles at a time and reduces emissions for the crossing by 90% compared to traditional cargo ships. The secret? It’s powered directly by wind. The large fins on the top capture the wind, pushing it in the direction it needs to go. It's essentially a massive sailboat. It is believed that the wPCC will be ready for its maiden sailing voyage by 2024, which is only a few years away.


While it may look futuristic, how does compare to the more traditional transatlantic cargo ships? Well, theres only one main downside, which is the speed. Using wind power means that it will likely take about twice as long to cross the Atlantic. Typically, cargo ship journeys take seven days, the wPCC would take about 12 in total as it relies entirely on the wind. For safety reasons though, if something were to go wrong, as well as for getting in and out of harbour, the boat does have additional engines as a precaution. Hopefully these will be electric engines to maintain the green nature of the ship.

In terms of size, designers have stated the ship measuring in at 200 meters long, 40 meters wide, and 100 meters tall, including the sails. While it may be a little shorter than the average container ship, it is much taller, the sails alone come in at about 80 meters! The slide reduction in size and speed is a small price to pay for the enormous savings made in reduced emissions.

While the consumer world moves towards a much more sustainable and green way of life, the industrial ecosystem is still massively lagging behind. This new cargo ship from Sweden is a huge step in the right direction though and hopefully the first of many new ships. If other countries follow their example, it won't be long before the whole world is a much greener and more environmentally friendly place to live.

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