The sails, which will be made of steel and composite materials, need to be this size to generate enough propulsive power for the 35,000-ton ship. Although “the general principles of solid wing sails is not new,” designing the Oceanbird’s sails has been a challenge, says Mikael Razola, a naval architect and research project manager for Oceanbird at Wallenius Marine. That’s because these are the tallest ship sails that have ever been constructed. “This ship, at the top of the mast, will be more than 100 meters (328 feet) above the water surface,” says Razola. “When you move up into the sky that much, wind direction and velocity change quite a lot.” Oceanbird has a projected top speed of about 10 knots and will take around 12 days to cross the Atlantic. While that’s considerably slower than standard car carriers, which can travel at 17 knots, the Oceanbird will emit 90% less CO2 than conventional car carriers.
Razola says their plan is “to see Oceanbird sailing in 2024.”
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