A Swedish consortium formed by the Stockholm KTH Royal Insititute of Technology, the maritime consultancy SSPA, and under the supervision of the ship designers of the company Wallenius Marine, developed the Wind Powered Car Carrier (wPCC), a transatlantic freighter powered by wind energy.
While the segment of electric vehicles for end users has recorded strong growth in recent years, in the commercial world, it has not made great leaps, especially when it comes to maritime transport.
Electric ships are not a very close approach to electric cars, since the weight of batteries would have much more relevance at sea than on land. So, instead of using batteries, the wPCC uses “sails” that are driven by the force of the wind, transmitting the momentum to the hull, just like a sailboat does.
Up to 90% cleaner than ordinary ships
The wPCC is a little shorter than a medium-sized container ship, but it is much taller due to the sails. It is 200 meters long, 40 meters wide and 100 meters high, being 20 meters from the ship itself and 80 meters from the sails.
For safety reasons and to enter and leave the port, the freighter will have additional engines, which must be electric, in order to maintain its sustainable appearance.
Speaking of sustainability, the wPCC will be able to transport up to 7,000 vehicles, emitting up to 90% less gas than a ship powered by the same size fossil fuels.
The wPCC is expected to start operating in 2024, and, for now, it only has a disadvantage compared to vessels that use non-renewable energy: it should take 12 days to cross the Atlantic, almost twice the time required for a ship common, which crosses the ocean in seven days.