Shipping could be going back to its sailing roots, if Finnish company Norsepower has anything to do with it.
Global shipping is a huge problem for the environment, but up till now no one has really tackled how to make the massive industry less harmful. A Finnish boat is trying to change that.
The Estraden is a Finnish cargo ship that makes regular journeys through the North Sea. Because it uses wind power in addition to burning oil, the Estraden is on the way to becoming the Prius of cargo ships.
How Norsepower’s technology works
The ship does this by harnessing the wind with Rotor Sails, spinning cylinders atop the ship. Invented by Norsepower, the Rotor Sails actually harness wind hitting the sails. This causes a difference in pressure between the front sail and rear sail. This is called the Magnus effect. The difference in pressure creates thrust that pushes the ship forward. This is similar to how pressure difference between the upper and lower sides of airplane wings allows for takeoff.
The rise of shipping
Currently, the shipping industry alone produces 2,2 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions. The International Maritime Organization estimates shipping could increase by 250 per cent by 2050. Unless something stops it. By switching to the Rotor Sail hybrid method, the savings for the industry would total $7 billion a year, and it would reduce the emissions by the equivalent of 12 coal power plants. Check out the Vice News documentary on Norsepower to learn more.