The government of Japan is working with a consortium of maritime shipping companies and the University Of Tokyo to develop more energy-efficient sailboats. This might be a response to increased emissions standards slated for 2015 by the International Maritime Organization, a UN affiliate.
The government will provide $96,670 (10 million yen) in funding to assist the development of the project, as well as other expenses associated with it. The companies in the consortium mentioned above are: Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Nippon Yusen, Kawasaki Kisen and Oshima Shipbuilding.
The project is an 80,000-ton vessel equipped with 5 sails which are 20 wide, and 60 meters tall. The sails’ positions will be adjusted by a computer system that calculates wind direction.
If wind conditions are inadequate, the ship is fueled by heavy oil, which is typical for shipping vessels. If wind speeds exceed 27 mph (12 meters per second), the ships can sail on wind energy alone.
At the moment, a smaller-scale prototype which is half the size is currently under construction in a Nagasaki shipyard.
Image Credit: Remy Musser/Shutterstock.
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