Wind and Solar Power for Sustainable Shipping
World shipping is a major source of airborne pollution and the movement of seaborne trade across the world requires vast amounts of bunker oil and other fossil fuels to be consumed by ships of all sizes. But as more focus is placed on reducing CO2 emissions and living in a more sustainable way, it is clear that changes will have to be made to the propulsion and power systems on-board modern vessels.
Wind power and solar energy are already popular sources of clean renewable energy on land, so Eco Marine Power is working with a number of development partners on an international project to develop the Aquarius MRE System which will ships to be powered in a greener and more eco-friendly way by using these limitless sources of energy.
The system can be incorporated into existing ship designs as shown or be integrated into future designs such as the Aquarius Eco Ship concept which is also being developed by Eco Marine Power.
The Aquarius MRE System is an advanced integrated system of rigid sails, solar panels & energy storage modules that will allow ships to tap into renewable energy by harnessing the power provided by the wind and sun. The array of rigid sails will be automatically positioned to best suit the prevailing weather conditions and can be lowered and stored when not in use or in bad weather.
The array of rigid sails are based on EMP's EnergySail technology and can even be used when a ship is at anchor or in harbour. Clearly the EnergySail is unlike any other sail.
The Aquarius MRE System will significantly reduce a ships fuel consumption and noxious gas emissions. In addition ship owners and operators will be able to reduce the CO2 footprint of their fleet and employ the solution on a variety of ships and vessels.
Video Clip (YouTube) Aquarius MRE System - renewable energy for shipping
When a ship is at anchor or in port the energy storage modules can provide an alternative source of power and thereby reduce the fuel used by auxiliary generators. In certain situations it will also be possible for a ship to operate totally emission free when in port which will become an increasingly important capability as port authorities implement strict emission control regulations.
This innovative system is designed for ships that operate at sea and is not a solution that has been designed for ferries or other small vessels and simply scaled up. Ships that operate at sea differ in design from small vessels that operate on bays and on harbours, therefore a wind & solar power system for ocean going ships has to be one that is designed for that purpose. The Aquarius MRE System is that type of solution.
Although this cutting-edge system is being initially designed for large ships, much of the technology being developed will also be suitable for smaller vessels such as coastal freighters, passenger ferries, tourist boats and Unmanned Surface Vessels. (USV's) A study is also being conducted to determine if it would be feasible to use the system on naval and government vessel such as patrol ships.
The Aquarius MRE System will require little attention from the ships crew, will be relatively easy to install, require little ongoing maintenance and offer an attractive ROI (Return on Investment) for shipping companies and ship owners.
Wherever possible the materials used to build the EnergySail and other system components will be recyclable.
A prototype version of the system will be ready for testing from mid 2012.
The Aquarius development project is being undertaken along with KEI System of Osaka, Japan & Corvus Energy of Vancouver, Canada.
You can read more about the thinking behind 'Aquarius' in this article: A Marine Renewable Energy Solution for Modern Ships.
The Aquarius MRE System by Eco Marine Power is an innovative approach to using wind and solar power together on ships and the technology will help make the world shipping greener and cleaner in the years ahead.
Aquarius MRE System & EnergySail are trademarks of Eco Marine Power Co. Ltd.
The Aquarius MRE System was a finalist in the 2011 Sustainable Shipping Awards and won a Solution Inspiring Action Award at the 2012 Savannah Ocean Exchange.