submitted 2 weeks ago by mac to c/tech
all 46 comments
sorted by: hot top controversial new old
[-] [email protected] 74 points 2 weeks ago

I get the whole "this isnt new" sentiment but we cant just swap right back to 100% wind power without developing NEW wind propulsion methods. We need to either match the speed of engine powered ships or increase efficiency (like this has).

Unless you want to go back to ships taking many more months or years to cross the ocean like they used to. Being snarky about ships using wind again is completely the wrong attitude to have if we want to make this work.

[-] [email protected] 8 points 2 weeks ago* (last edited 2 weeks ago)

The long term solution is probably a combination of technologies - hydrogen and solar to power some propellers cleanly, batteries to regulate the solar and wind power, new and improved "sails" like this, channeling energy from waves, new types of coating that significantly reduce friction and increase gliding factor, new much lighter containers to reduce total weight, etc...

[-] [email protected] 5 points 2 weeks ago

Probably just need to use biofuels and or very large battery systems. Generating enough energy on a vessel of that size probably isn't feasible. Could maybe switch to nuclear instead that seems risky

[-] [email protected] 3 points 2 weeks ago

Giving all these ships access to nuclear generators would be really bad.

Biofuel tanks might work in some situations, but it would either take away from shipping volume or limit access due to height of the ship.

[-] [email protected] 3 points 2 weeks ago

Why would it take away from shipping volume? A biodiesel or equivalent shouldn't take up any more room then current field?

[-] [email protected] 4 points 2 weeks ago

Bio fuels are typically less energy dense than dinosaur squeezings. Diesel is around 40 mega joules per liter. Biodiesel is around 33.

So in this example you only get 82.5% of the energy unless you increase capacity of the fuel tanks, which would decrease the available space for cargo.

[-] [email protected] 23 points 2 weeks ago

Next they should replace the diesel engines with bigass electric motors, and put solar panels over every top surface of the vessel that they can, and even possibly on the sail-wings too. Wind and solar powered shipping would be a good combo since there are plenty of both out on the seas. Charge the boat batteries at port as needed, cruise while collecting solar power etc

[-] [email protected] 25 points 2 weeks ago

Great idea but a cargo ship has like 2% top surface showing, the rest is containers of future landfill :(

[-] [email protected] 4 points 2 weeks ago

I'm sure they could put temporary solar panels on the containers. It would be more work but would it save enough on fuel to make it worth it? Who knows.

[-] [email protected] 11 points 2 weeks ago

It would be more work but would it save enough on fuel to make it worth it? Who knows.

Even without doing the math, I feel pretty confident saying that the answer is "no."

[-] [email protected] 6 points 2 weeks ago* (last edited 2 weeks ago)

The amount of fuel these ships consume to propel themselves is astronomical. Petroleum fuel has a waaaayy higher energy density than lithium batteries. Around 46 MJ/kg vs 6 MJ/kg...it's simply not practical.

Nuclear ships on the other hand...

Edit: This isnt really a fair comparison because of the efficiency differences between ICEs and electric motors but it does show the energy storage inefficiency per kg of current battery storage technologies. Not sure if there's a better comparison metric to use...

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 weeks ago

maybe a roll-out top made of those flexible panels that is extended when ship is loaded. I guess securing it though with wind and stuff might be a problem

[-] [email protected] 1 points 2 weeks ago

Could make a solar roof on hinges over the cargo

[-] [email protected] 15 points 2 weeks ago

I have a 4'x10' flatbottomed boat. Of the 40sq./ft. I cover 45% in solar to make a modest trolling motor go 6-7mph. Weight with myself, wife, battery, cells, misc. gear: 300lbs.

Solar ain't gonna get it on a cargo ship weighing 165,000 tons and a couple of football fields long.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 2 weeks ago

Flat bottomed boats they make the rocking world go round.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 2 weeks ago

Maybe something like diesel-electric that they use with trains with solar panels providing some of the electricity is a more realistic thought.

[-] [email protected] -2 points 2 weeks ago

Batteries are part of what I said, which you seem to be ignoring. A ship that huge could hold some huge-ass batteries to power the bigass motors. Sodium-ion batteries would be the ideal solution with presently available technology.

[-] [email protected] 3 points 2 weeks ago

Nowhere near the power density needed to get the job done

[-] [email protected] 13 points 2 weeks ago

Not even close to enough surface area to power them with solar. Even if the entire ship held up a solar array that completely shadowed the ship would it be enough.

[-] [email protected] 6 points 2 weeks ago

They already are propelled by electric motors - but the electricity is generated by massive fossil fuelled generators.

[-] onlinepersona 0 points 2 weeks ago

I look forward to hydrogen-fueled ships and hydrogen-fueled planes. That's going to be fun.


[-] GarytheSnail 6 points 2 weeks ago

Are you copyrighting your comment?

[-] onlinepersona -1 points 2 weeks ago
[-] GarytheSnail 3 points 2 weeks ago

Can an instance blanket copyright all of their users comments?

Also, I'm not sure why you're getting down voted, sorry.

[-] onlinepersona 2 points 2 weeks ago

Can an instance blanket copyright all of their users comments?

They probably get the right to distribute it because that's their primary purpose. But I'm not sure if they get the right to distribute it under another license? No idea... copyright is beyond me.
However, if it gets commercial AI makers in trouble, that's fine by me.

Also, I’m not sure why you’re getting down voted, sorry.

Eh, not a problem. They're just make believe points. Of no importance.


[-] [email protected] 10 points 2 weeks ago

Wow... The innovation... Sails on ships... Next they add wheels to sleighs, These nerdy bastards

[-] [email protected] 93 points 2 weeks ago

can't we just enjoy positive changes for a second?

[-] mac 37 points 2 weeks ago

Rather than usual sails these are solid and foldable and act more like plane wings

[-] [email protected] 2 points 2 weeks ago

I mean sails form an aerofoil but these are ridged aerofoils.

[-] [email protected] 35 points 2 weeks ago

Its actually better than sails as they can be folded away and there are no masts That could hinder the ship driving under a bridge.

[-] [email protected] 30 points 2 weeks ago

lowkey tired of being able to guess the exact snarky deadpan top comment before opening the post

no hate to you commenter. :) its a funny comment and the world is fucked i just wish we could for once be genuinely happy and celebrate that engineers are helping us do better

[-] [email protected] 7 points 2 weeks ago


[-] [email protected] -3 points 2 weeks ago

That's a good start. Now get rid of the rest of the diesel fuel used.

[-] [email protected] -4 points 2 weeks ago

IIRC it still burns a crapload of regular fuel, say 14T a day; so yeah, it’s a savings, but it needs to be better.

[-] [email protected] 26 points 2 weeks ago

Any savings is a good step. stop discounting those steps

[-] [email protected] 3 points 1 week ago

14% gain is still extremely good.

this post was submitted on 02 Apr 2024
231 points (98.3% liked)


222 readers
1 users here now

A community for high quality news and discussion around technological advancements and changes

Things that fit:

Things that don't fit

Community Wiki

founded 2 months ago