Alternative Propulsion and Power for Lower Emission Shipping

Aquarius MRE and EnergySail - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). For general questions about Eco Marine Power please see our Company Frequently Asked Questions page.

Impression of EnergySail Array
Impression of EnergySail® Array on Aquarius Eco Ship

For further information about the Aquarius MRE® please see the Aquarius MRE webpage

For further information about the EnergySail® please see the EnergySail webpage

What is the Aquarius MRE or Aquarius MRE System?

The patented Aquarius MRE (MRE - Marine Renewable Energy) or Aquarius MRE System is an advanced integrated system of rigid but movable sails, computer systems, renewable energy devices & energy storage modules that will allow ships to tap into renewable energy at sea by harnessing the power provided by the wind and sun. The rigid sails are based on the patented EnergySail® technology developed by EMP.

How much will the system reduce a ships fuel consumption?

We estimate that on an annual basis the system will reduce fuel consumption on ocean going ships of between 5% -20%. This is a conservative estimate that takes into account days when weather conditions are not favourable for using the system or when the ship is not at sea. On smaller and/or specialised vessels the fuel savings and emission reductions could be significantly higher.

Is the Aquarius MRE just for large ships?

Although the system was initially designed for large ships, much of the associated technology will also be suitable for smaller vessels such as coastal freighters, passenger ferries and tourist boats. A study is also being conducted to determine if it would be feasible to use the system on naval and government vessels such as patrol ships. Elements of the system are also suitable for autonomous surface vessels (ASV's) and unmanned surface vessels (USV's).

Is wind power really a viable option on-board large modern ships?

Wind power was used for many centuries to move ships across the oceans but the arrival of the steamship heralded the end of the golden age of the sailing ship.  In the 1980's however ships in Japan were fitted with rigid (JAMDA) sails and these proved that the use of rigid sails reduced fuel consumption. You can read more about this topic in Wind and Solar Power for Ships.

Does the EnergySail used by the Aquarius MRE System use wind energy and collect solar energy as well?

The rigid sail or EnergySail designed by Eco Marine Power will help move a ship by using the available wind plus they may collect solar energy during the day if solar panels are fitted. The EnergySail is moved automatically by the computer control system to best suit the prevailing weather conditions. Please see our EnergySail webpage for more information about this innovative device. Each EnergySail may also be fitted with other power generating devices and sensors.

What is a rigid sail? Does it mean the sail does not move?

A rigid sail is simply a sail that is not made entirely from a flexible material like cloth. A rigid sail for example could be made from marine grade steel or a carbon fibre composite material or both. The EnergySail used by the Aquarius MRE can be moved to best use the available wind or solar energy. They can also be lowered when a ship is loading/unloading cargo or during storms.

Can the energy collected from the solar panels be stored in batteries?

Yes. The batteries when charged can then be used to power the ship’s operational equipment or alternatively, be used as a power source when at harbour or at anchor. The batteries or energy storage modules can also be used to store energy from other sources such as the ship's generators. You can read more about this here: Aquarius Marine Solar Power

Why should shipping companies use wind and solar power?

Firstly wind and solar power used on-board ships reduces the use of fossil fuels and this results in less air pollution less & greenhouse gas emissions. So simply put, wind and solar power are better for the environment compared to burning oil, diesel fuel or LNG etc. Secondly less fuel used means reduced operating costs for the owner or operator of the ship. There are also other benefits which we would be pleased to explain these in more detail to ship builders, designers, owners and operators.

Why not just put very big sails on a ship?

Very big sails on a ship can cause major problems just as they did during the age of the sailing ship. The aim of the Aquarius MRE System is not only to use wind power on a ship, but also to do it in such a way so that the safety of the crew and vessel are not compromised. In addition the system brings in other technologies such as energy storage, wind power devices & solar modules. Large flexible sails are suitable for certain types of vessels but our research indicates they are not ideal for large ships such as tankers, RoRo vesslels, cargo ships and bulkers. The EnergySail used by Aquarius MRE has also been designed so that it is suitable for a wide range of ships from passenger ferries to very large oil tankers and ore carrying ships.

I have seen smaller vessels with rigid sails, why not just put bigger variations of these on a ship?

Ocean going ships are designed differently than those that operate in sheltered waters such as bays, harbours or rivers therefore a wind and solar power solution for these vessels must be designed to take that into account. Rigid wing sails for example work well on yachts but our research has shown that they are not ideally suited for large ocean going ships.

The sails do not look that big, will they really work?

An EnergySail array is not intended to power the ship alone. On a large ship the main engines will still be needed but Aquarius MRE will provide an additional source or power and propulsion to help reduce fuel consumption and airborne emissions including particulate matter. The basic technology behind the rigid sail concept was tested & proven on a number of ocean going vessels in Japan during the 1980’s.

Do the sails move?

Yes, they will move to best suit the prevailing weather conditions.  They can also be lowered during storms or when cargo is being loaded/unloaded.

Is there only one type of EnergySail?

No, there are several variations of the EnergySail in terms of size, shape and features.

When will the system be ready?

The first sub-system, the Aquarius Management & Automation System (MAS) is now available and the EnergySail has passed lab tests. Sea trials for the marine solar power system commenced in 2014 and was complete in 2016. Sea trails of the EnergySail are due to commence soon.

Aquarius MRE® and EnergySail® are registered trademarks of Eco Marine Power Co. Ltd.

Aquarius Eco ShipTM concept by Greg Atkinson, CTO, Eco Marine Power. All rights reserved.


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Hybrid marine power solutions including solar power save fuel, reduce pollution and are cost effective. Eco Marine Power is at the forefront of developing low emission & fuel saving solutions for ships, Our computer systems also provide a control interface between renewable energy & other systems on-board ships.
Eco Marine Power is at the forefront of providing innovative marine renewable energy technologies for shipping that harness the power of the sun & wind. These solutions include Aquarius MRE, EnergySail & Aquarius Marine Solar Power. These reduce fuel consumption, lower noxious gas emissions and deliver cost benefits.
Aquarius Management & Automation System or Aquarius MAS is a cost effective alarm handling, monitoring & data logging platform suitable for a wide range of ships. The system is based upon the reliable KEI 3240 Data Logger and is class approved. Aquarius MAS can also monitor fuel use & calculate vessel emissions.
Our design & consulting services include green ship & eco ship concept designs, renewable energy surveys, renewable energy systems design & consulting support for new ship and retrofit projects. We work with ship owners, ship managers and ship yards to develop the right renewable energy solution for their needs.
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