Wednesday, March 16, 2005
It is the ship of the future - powered by the sun, wind and waves. The futuristic vessel has no conventional engines, uses no fossil fuels and releases no harmful emissions into the atmosphere or pollution into the sea. The first ship to use the technology will be a cargo vessel that will transport up to 10,000 cars from Britain to Australia, New Zealand and other countries. If successful, it will be used on passenger ferries and cruise ships. Wave energy is harnessed by 12 dolphin-like fins on the ship's hull, while sun and wind energy is collected by three giant, fin-like sails covered in solar panels. The sails and fins will also help the ship to cruise at 15 knots, and stability will be provided by a slim monohull that will have two smaller support hulls, known as sponsons, on each side. Once harnessed, the sun, wind and wave energy will be combined with hydrogen and stored. A spokesman for Wallenius Wilhelmsen, the ship's Scandinavian designers, said: "This will be the first truly environmentally friendly ship, protecting the atmosphere and marine species. It will transform ocean transport." The international firm transports 160,000 cars a year, including Jaguars and BMWs, from Southampton to Australia, New Zealand and other countries. The vessel will include a cargo deck the size of 14 football fields. It will be able to carry up to 10,000 cars in emission-free conditions. At 250 metres long, it will be shorter than the Queen Mary 2 (345 metres) and the QE2 (293 metres), but more than three times the length of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet (70 metres). The ship is called the E/S Orcelle after the orcelle dolphin - or the Irrawaddy dolphin, one of the world's most endangered species. E/S stands for "environmentally sound ship". The ship's design means it will not need to carry ballast water, used to stabilise traditional vessels. The collection and disposal of ballast water has worried marine conservationists for years. Many fragile species are collected inadvertently when a ship takes thousands of tonnes of water from the sea for ballast. When the water is emptied back into the ocean, often thousands of kilometres away in alien environments. Wallenius Wilhelmsen will unveil a model of the E/S Orcelle at Expo, the world trade fair, in Aichi, Japan, next month. The company's chief executive, Nils Dyvik, said a ship with some of the Orcelle's "environmentally friendly characteristics" could be launched within five years, but the "complete version" might not be crossing the oceans until 2025. Mr Dyvik expected it would be more expensive than a conventional cargo ship, which costs up to $110 million. Mr Dyvik said the E/S Orcelle "represents the achievable goal of a zero-emission cargo ship".
E/S Orcelle-E/S stands for Environmentally sound Ship. The ship is named after the Irrawaddy dolphin known as in French as the Orcelle dolphin.