Japanese scientists offer at the same time the old and new way to reduce fuel consumption on freight sea vessels, for this they have developed sails of an updated telescopic structure. A group of scientists with the participation of Tokyo University specialists demonstrated new hard sails 20 m wide and 50 m high. The first tests of the technology took place as part of a computer simulation that simulates the path from Yokogama to Seattle, the modeling results showed that new generation hybrid ships can save on average 30% of the energy resources used.
A whole array of such sails is installed on a cargo ship automatically controlled using an intellectual navigation system. The system is guided, among other things, weather forecasts, setting the appropriate route of the vessel and ensuring maximum safety in the way. The rotation angle of each such sail is controlled individually in such a way as to ensure the maximum value of the traction force. In addition, a telescopic structure of five sections minimizes this force when the ship, for example, is anchored.
The new version for the manufacture of sails uses not textile materials, but composites made of aluminum and strengthened fiber plastic, which ensures high strength. As the developers put it, the ship received wings, like an airplane. Computer modeling and testing of models in an aerodynamic pipe showed that the invention is effective under the conditions of the side wind. Instead of choosing a geometrically shorter way, the ship goes along the optimal route that provides maximum speed with a minimum fuel consumption.
The only drawback of high -tech sails is their high price, each of them costs $ 2.5 million. However, the developers note, they provide fuel savings at least 25%, which means that such sails will pay off after about 5-10 years. True, they will enter the market no earlier than 2016.