A far cry from what the powerful and important vessels they once were, sail boats are little more than recreational toys for most people. But at least one company thinks they can be effective cargo ships once again.
When it sets sail, the freighter will have a total cargo capacity of about 9,000 tons, less than 1/10th that of long-haul super freighters that carry cargo across the Atlantic. That is however ten times more than comparable sailing ships from over a century ago, and this freighter is being designed for shipping through European waters at first. In other words, they don’t have far to go, and currently there are about 1,500 cargo ships of similar size operating in European waters. Shipping is responsible for as much as 4% of the world’s total shipping emissions, and in European waters especially that pollution drifts over major population bases. I’m sure many coastal residents would appreciate the cleaner air.
There is skepticism regarding the cost effectiveness of such a vessel, since it carries substantially less cargo than bigger shipping freighters. The wind is free though, and if the B9 boat can get more than half of its propulsion from a free energy source, they will save a lot of money on fuel. It won’t happen overnight, but from a business perspective, I don’t see why shipping companies wouldn’t want wind-powered ships. It would just more money in their pockets.
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.