[Originally posted on EcoGeek]

-2Cargo ships are a very efficient means of shipping cargo in terms of cost and energy per ton of freight moved. But the ships use some of the dirtiest fuel, and global shipping is responsible for 3-4% of all greenhouse gas emissions. So, while cleaning up ocean freight isn’t the sole solution to atmospheric greenhouse gasses, it’s an area that could stand some improvement.

One solution may come from B9 Energy, the largest independent operator of wind farms in the UK. B9 is now venturing into shipping with a carbon neutral cargo ship that is due to set sail in 2012. At only 3,000 tons, this ship will be considerably smaller than a typical bulk freighter, which tends to be in the range of 15,000 to 30,000 tons. But, unlike a typical freighter, it will be carbon neutral. 60% of the ship’s energy is to be provided by sails, just like the clipper ships of the 1800s. The remaining 40% of the ship’s energy will be provided by engines running on liquefied methane produced from biogas sources. If demand for biofuel outstips supply, the ship can also be run on liquefied natural gas.

The prototype vessel is expected to cost about $24.4 million. If the ship proves successful, as many as 50 more might be built.

Previously on EcoGeek: Sky Sails

via: Cleantech