At a good two and a half percent, freight transport makes a small contribution to global CO, but it can hardly be reduced in the short term.2-Emissions. Heavy fuel oil and diesel are still the dominant fuels, despite initial conversions to liquid gas.
For many years we have been working on the use of Flettner sails and rotors, in order to reduce at least a little the consumption of ocean liners. A few weeks ago, the Chinese supertanker “New Aden” began operations between Asia and the Middle East oil region. Equipped with four sails, the 333-meter-long ship is said to save up to 9.8% fuel along its route.
Four trees rise 40 meters above the central part of the bridge. They do not hold up the classic fabric sails, but much more stable and resistant sails – the so-called aerofoils – made of a carbon fiber composite material. The China Classification Society (CCS) specifies that the total sail area is 1,200 square meters. The orientation of these airfoils can be fully automatically adjusted to the prevailing wind conditions.
The “New Aden” is by no means the only merchant ship to rely on a support sail. Already in 2010, the German wind turbine manufacturer Enercon was relying on the “E-Ship 1”, which, according to the company, should save up to 15% on fuel with four Flettner rotors.
Less fuel, less CO₂
The Swedish company Oceanbird is even more ambitious. A car transporter for up to 7,000 vehicles is planned, which will be equipped with five airfoils up to 80 meters high. This should reduce CO₂ emissions by up to 90%. A first launch is currently planned for the period from 2024 to 2026.
These approaches show that modern navigation technology could definitely conquer a niche in freight transport. High fuel prices are currently promoting this development. At the same time, the shift to other fuels such as liquid gas or, in the future, green ammonia will gain momentum. However, there is still a long way to go before climate neutrality in 2050 – according to the goal of the United Nations Global Shipping Organization IMO – and any innovative ideas to reduce CO₂ emissions are welcome.