Out at sea, there's no shortage of wind and sun, so why not have ships put them to good use?
As part of their Aquarius System, Japanese company Eco Marine Power has begun developing rigid wind and solar sail panels for large ships, such as shipping vessels. Currently in the design phase the "sails" would allow ships to harness wind and solar energy as an alternative source of fuel, reducing its fuel consumption and lowering its greenhouse gas emissions.
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As part of an array of panels that would line the deck of the starboard and port sides of large vessels, the Aquarius System would allow ships to tap into renewable energy while at sea, but also while anchored or in harbor.
Each panel will be controlled by a computer system being designed by KEI System of Osaka, Japan. The computer system will allow the panels to be lowered and stored when not in use. When wind conditions are unfavorable, the panels can be calibrated to reduce the ship's drag while still harness the sun's energy.
Ideally, Aquarius is being developed for large shipping vessels such as oil tankers, but the system's scalability could potentially be used on variety of ships. The company envisions outfitting naval, coast guard and fishery protection vessels with the system.