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Boats Vindskip Sailing Barge

Published on September 26th, 2013 | by Jo Borrás

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Vindskip: The Fuel-Efficient Ship Shaped Like A Sail (Video)

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September 26th, 2013 by
 
Vindskip Sailing Barge

Promising to cut fuel use by 60% and harmful carbon emissions by up to 80%, a Lade AS’ fuel-efficient ship concept could revolutionize the overseas cargo shipping industry and reduce fossil fuel use by millions — if not billions! — of barrels per year.

Lade AS, the Norwegian designers behind the Vindskip concept, have made use of a design concept similar to the “lifting body” in aircraft design, which uses the shape of the main hull to generate positive lift as the engine pushes the aircraft forward. In the Vindskip, the hull is shaped like a giant sail which, according to its designers, generates a forward thrust towards the apparent wind (the “wind” created by the forward progress of a vehicle that’s felt by its passengers). If it works, the Vindskip will easily become the most fuel-efficient ship of its size in the world.

As far as “if it works” goes, the design is solid enough to have already received several international patents, and the company suggests that a computerized navigation system running a number of complex algorithms from GPS and weather satellites could help Vindskip captains to plot the most fuel-efficient shipping courses “on the fly.” That means that this simple technology will, on its own, rival the more expensive fuel and emissions reductions of ships like Nissan’s solar-diesel hybrid car-hauler and Viking’s LNG-engined cruise ships (the same engine, which, it should be noted, will be used by Lade AS).

To get a sense of how big Lade AS’ fuel efficient ship concept really is, check out this CGI rendering …

Fuel Efficient Ship

… and take a few minutes to watch the company’s concept video to see how the concept works. I think you’ll agree: any new tech that can cut the fuel bill by 60% on a gas bill this size deserves attention. Enjoy!

Sources | Photos: Lade AS, via Gizmag

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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.



  • Rotation

    after seeing the video… would you trust a design firm that does not even know that earth rotates towards east?? It is very very funny

    • LOL

      LOL, LOL

  • Wayne Williamson

    This is just silly. Putting sails on an existing cargo ship would probably do better and be much safer….

    • AegysLTS

      Ancient mariners did that successfully until they decided to switch to steam, kind of mind-boggling they decided to build a ship shape like wall/humpty-dumpty…

  • Marion Meads

    Unfortunately, it is not compatible with today’s current container loading and unloading docks handled by crane operators. Having to drive each container from the inside negates the efficiency of loading and unloading.

    • Bob_Wallace

      It’s the hull that’s doing the sail work. A removable/rollback/whatever deck can be designed.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      Looks to me like the top opens as well.

  • JamesWimberley

    The ship is wind-aided 45% of the time and the fuel saving is 60%? Something is missing here. Skysails has been marketing a power kite system for cargo ships for several years and has failed to advance beyond a handful of trial intallations. It claims 30% fuel savings when the kite is in use, which looks a lot more realistic.

    • Marion Meads

      It is already saving fuel compared to an ordinary ship traveling in the same direction even if there is no wind to aid it by virtue of its basic design as it cuts through the apparent wind. Being aided by the wind is additional bonus, that is how you get 60% total savings compared to ordinary ship.

      • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

        Correct. Also, it’s using an LPG engine that is more efficient than conventional diesels.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      The math seems OK. Are you familiar with the old “road horsepower” measurement? Car and Driver – and other magazines – used to publish how many hp the engine was using to keep a steady 55 mph (back in the ol’ double-nickel days, obviously). That figure was always way low, so the idea that a small amount of wind power to keep a steady speed can lead to exponential power savings seems fine to me.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    note that ships external surface can be covered with high efficiency solar panels.

    • James Deng

      yeah no

      • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

        I have to agree. The high seas are a rough, rough place, and delicate electronics tend to die dramatic and expensive deaths in the salt air.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Solar panels are basically sheets of rock underneath sheets of glass. As long as the connectors are well protected from salt they should be fine.

          I’m not saying that adding solar panels to ships will decrease fuel use significantly and pay for themselves. Need some math to see if that holds.

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