Climate Sustainable Shipping

Finnish startup company Norsepower installed its rotor sail technology on the Maersk Pelican tanker, Aug. 29, 2018, in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in the first such installation on a tanker as the shipping industry tries new solutions in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The Maersk Pelican oil tanker is testing Norsepower’s 30 meter (98 foot) deck-mounted spinning columns, which convert wind into thrust based on an idea first floated nearly a century ago. Transport’s contribution to earth-warming emissions are the subject of investigations as negotiators gather in Katowice, Poland, for U.N. COP24 climate talks. (Casper Hariot/Maersk Tankers via AP)

LONDON (AP) — As the shipping industry faces pressure to cut climate-altering greenhouse gases, one answer is blowing in the wind.

European and U.S. tech companies, including one backed by airplane maker Airbus, are pitching futuristic sails to help cargo ships harness the free and endless supply of wind power. While they sometimes don’t even look like sails — some are shaped like spinning columns — they represent a cheap and reliable way to reduce CO2 emissions for an industry that depends on a particularly dirty form of fossil fuels.

“It’s an old technology,” said Tuomas Riski, the CEO of Finland’s Norsepower, which added its “rotor sail” technology for the first time to a tanker in August. “Our vision is that sails are coming back to the seas.”

Denmark’s Maersk Tankers is using its Maersk Pelican oil tanker to test Norsepower’s 30 meter (98 foot) deck-mounted spinning columns, which convert wind into thrust based on an idea first floated nearly a century ago.

Separately, A.P. Moller-Maersk, which shares the same owner and is the world’s biggest container shipping company, pledged this week to cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

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