Solar sail panels by Eco Marine Power.
One of the predictions of future energy cost increases is an increased emphasis on marine-based shipping. Recently, sea-based transportation just got another boost, in the form of a novel solution concocted by the company Eco Marine Power. The Japan-based organization has decided to capitalize on the unlimited access to sun and large berths of large shipping vessels by installing collections of solar sails.
As the name suggests, the sails will collect energy from sunlight and harness the wind to power nautical vessels—primarily oil tankers and large carriers. The company claims that the sails may be carefully positioned to capture optimal sunlight and wind; however, it would seem that these two forms of energy will not always share the same alignment. Nevertheless, the compelling idea is taking hold, earning Eco Marine Power a place in the final rounds of the Green Shipping Initiative of the Year award in July. The technology is currently being developed for retrofit installations, and is being tested for extreme weather conditions.