The Irish have been seafarers for thousands of years. How else did people get to the island after the last ice age?
A company in Larne, Co.Antrim, Northern Ireland called B9 Shipping Ltd. is taking a step back and a step sideways in propulsion which may revolutionize the industry.
They are developing a cargo vessel that will be powered by wind and bio-gas methane.
The ship will have deployable and retractable sails without rope rigging. These sails will serve as the primary means of propulsion. Each individual sail is rectangular and can be controlled electronically from the bridge to respond to changing wind direction. The sails will rotate around the mast. They can be stowed when there is no wind or the wind is not favorable.
When wind isn't suitable for propulsion, methane from food waste will power a Rolls Royce engine to thrust the ship's movements. This will be particularly handy in docking, too.
The bunker fuel used to power most ships in open water has risen in cost 600 percent in the last 10 years. And in the near shore environment, low sulfur fuel, which is even more expensive than bunker fuel, must be used in North America.
If this mating of wind and bio-gas technologies works, it could both reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and save shipping companies much money.
You might enjoy their blog: http://b9energy.blogspot.com/