All that free energy flowing over the seas, it’s time to re-visit ancient technology…
Yes, this “futuristic” vessel, as CleanTechnica describes it, would sport giant vertical beams outfitted with humongous cloth wind-catching devices, known as “sails.” It must be said that these elaborate mechanisms look rather ungainly, and skeptics might wonder whether an energy source as unreliable as the breeze could ever actually power something as bulky as a seafaring craft.
But just imagine if it worked! “If it proves successful,” the blog enthuses, “the new B9 cargo ship could usher in a new era of fossil fuel-free technology at a critical time for the shipping industry.”
The whole notion sounded almost too ingenious to be true. So I called up the good folks at B9 Energy Group to make sure this wasn’t some kind of a hoax.
Not at all, managing director David Surplus assured me. Applying wind power to ships might sound far-fetched today, but if oil prices keep rising, it might well make economic sense in the not-too-distant future.
The cargo is biowaste pellets, a green fuel that can be used for heat and power electric turbines.
To generate electrical power sustainably and environmentally friendly, we can no longer rely on fossil fuels alone as their supply is diminishing. An interesting alternative to coal, oil and natural gas – which in principle are biomass resources with an origin dating far back millions of years – is the use of self-replenishing biomass as a source of renewable energy.
Maniwa, Japan, is already putting energy back into the grid by using lumber industry by-products in its generators. They used to just burn the stuff as waste.
What makes economic sense is to start with that politically incorrect word, ‘conservation’. Add smarter use and multiple, local power sources and we might someday have a few ‘small oil’ corporations running honest business instead of Big Oil trying to run our country.