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Old 21-08-2009, 19:11   #1
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Oil vs Wind

Does anyone else wonder how long til technology/lack of the 'black gold' takes before we see a return to the cargo ships being driven by sails?
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Old 21-08-2009, 19:19   #2
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Does anyone else wonder how long til technology/lack of the 'black gold' takes before we see a return to the cargo ships being driven by sails?
Never. When you are in production it's not likely you'll be dissing the product. Should the price become that high then the time to port will be more important than the method of operation.
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Old 21-08-2009, 19:51   #3
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Cargo ships (and most everything else) will go nuclear first.
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Old 21-08-2009, 20:38   #4
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My best friend and I have pursued this idea for years...we have brainstormed and had some people interested in investing.....The key is the cargo and the guarantee of future cargo. It can be done
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Old 21-08-2009, 20:58   #5
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The Navy and some commercial companies have been experimenting with ships using large kites to improve fuel usage.
Don't know if will ever get beyond this stage but it's a possibility.
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Old 21-08-2009, 21:07   #6
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I agree 100% on the Nuclear prediction. I wonder who will be the first, because once it finally happens, many many others will follow I suspect. I imagine a couple of these would be a good start. But there are some people playing with cargo sails of sorts...not really practical though. And then there is this concept...from the Chinese, oddly enough, it's somewhat surprising to see them innovating in the realm of environmental responsibility...
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Old 21-08-2009, 21:22   #7
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Nah, never happen, probably when the oil runs out they will punch little holes down by the waterline of the aircraft carrier and 500 swabbies will stick long oars out and row the boats around just like the Greeks and Turks did.
I have seen realistic estimates that there are no less than a couple hundred years of oil in its various forms still recoverable from the planet. So neither we or our children will see the end of fossil fuels.
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Old 21-08-2009, 21:31   #8
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There is a lot of interest in sail powered ships since the early 2000's and experiments are proceeding with good results. After cruise-liners went with diesel/wind hybrids, cargo ships are heading there too:

The new age of sail - tech - 26 February 2005 - New Scientist

Cargo Ship with Kites: First Trans-Atlantic Trip a Success! : TreeHugger

Even the US Navy chartered the Beluga to transport material: http://www.eucom.mil/English/FullStory.asp?art={307A30F9-2F3E-471A-8BA3-7BCEEC57B3C5}

And now there's Enercon's E-Ship... keep an eye (or Google) on that one!

cheers,
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Old 21-08-2009, 22:00   #9
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Shipping companies are paid not just for moving things around the world but for having a reliable schedule that their customers can depend on. As sailors we know how inconsistent the wind is. Right now the newer and larger containers ships are moving well over twenty knots. A drop to a few knots would kill most of the industry and drive up prices for everyone. Also, those wages still have to be paid regardless of how fast the ship is moving and the slower it moves the more the products being shipped will cost the consumer. Time is money. I think other fuels like natural gas or nuclear energy might one day be used.

You must also consider that a ship cannot tack upwind in a crowded harbor nor put itself gently against the dock using wind. A keel for a modern sized ship would draw more water than most harbors have.
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Old 21-08-2009, 23:04   #10
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Never. When you are in production it's not likely you'll be dissing the product. Should the price become that high then the time to port will be more important than the method of operation.

Paul,not sure if I'm reading this right...but I don't mean will sail vessels ever replace oil tankers...that would seem counter productive to me

Cargo ships (and most everything else) will go nuclear first.

T34,yes i have to agree thats probably the way they'd go

My best friend and I have pursued this idea for years...we have brainstormed and had some people interested in investing.....The key is the cargo and the guarantee of future cargo. It can be done

Chief engineer,i thought someone had to have given it some thought


The Navy and some commercial companies have been experimenting with ships using large kites to improve fuel usage.
Don't know if will ever get beyond this stage but it's a possibility

Well if commercial companies are already experimenting then i gotta think its only a matter of time then,even if its a couple of hundred years til the planet does run out of oil for them to be experimenting now there must be some financial reason for it,even if the reason equates to better business for them due to perceived environmental awareness/responsibility

Cheers for the links Jedi and Endojo good to read how they are actually doing this sort of stuff

Nah, never happen, probably when the oil runs out they will punch little holes down by the waterline of the aircraft carrier and 500 swabbies will stick long oars out and row the boats around just like the Greeks and Turks did.
I have seen realistic estimates that there are no less than a couple hundred years of oil in its various forms still recoverable from the planet. So neither we or our children will see the end of fossil fuels

Yeah dunno if they'd ever resort to rowing but also a possibility i guess,but for sure we're not scraping the bottom of the oil barrel yet but i can't see the price going down only up so at some point it would seem an economical alternative would be viable.

Shipping companies are paid not just for moving things around the world but for having a reliable schedule that their customers can depend on. As sailors we know how inconsistent the wind is. Right now the newer and larger containers ships are moving well over twenty knots. A drop to a few knots would kill most of the industry and drive up prices for everyone. Also, those wages still have to be paid regardless of how fast the ship is moving and the slower it moves the more the products being shipped will cost the consumer. Time is money. I think other fuels like natural gas or nuclear energy might one day be used.

You must also consider that a ship cannot tack upwind in a crowded harbor nor put itself gently against the dock using wind. A keel for a modern sized ship would draw more water than most harbors have.

Yes i agree that time is money and for sure 'right now' sail powered cargo ships would not be viable for that reason alone...or else someone would be doing it i'm sure,however as oil becomes more scarce then time becomes less of a factor in the economics of the equation.
ie: cost=wages+fuel

if (just for illustrative purposes) it currently takes 2 weeks for a ship to make a certain passage and in doing so they use $10,000 in fuel then at some point the cost then the 2 weeks wages for the crew might be x percent of the cost

however if the cost of fuel was $40,000 then the cost of crew wages for 2 weeks would be alot lower,and at some point in that transition it would make more economical sense to pay the wages for the crew for 4 weeks and use no fuel.
If current cargo ships move at approx 20 knots then the speed difference is really not all that much of a concern technology and yacht design are always moving forward and a cruise at 25knots would seem like a slow sunday arvo sail to the likes of ocean racing tri's...now i know You couldn't load any cargo on Banque populaire v an still expect averages of 40 knots my point is just that through design and technology sail driven vessels can and are exceeding speeds that would of had Colombus,Cook et al absolutely dumbfounded.
Yes absolutely a current cargo ship would have no hope of tacking against the wind into a harbour and the neccessary keel would have it ground unless it was in the adriatic trench but the world at one point in history traded with sail so it can be done even if it meant reducing cargo ship size to 1/10 the size they are now and sending ten of then with the same load.

However for this to work we do still have to get over that pesky problem of nuclear power

Thanks for all the responses btw good to know i'm not the only one out there with these far fetched ideas
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