Green cars are not the only focus of pro-environmental transport projects in the world; the shipping industry is now part of the green movement and the latest achievement comes from none else than the techno-savvy Japanese. Last week, Japan’s freighter Auriga Leader was launched into the sea as the world’s first green ship, partly propelled by solar energy. The news is an eye-catcher in the world of environmental-friendly transport.
Developed by the most renowned Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen, Auriga Leader is a colossal cargo ship, 200 meters long and weighing 60 213 tons, with a carriage capacity of about 6400 cars. The propulsion system of the ship is powered by 328 solar panels that can produce 40 kilowatts of power – about 0.2 percent of the propulsion energy consumed by the ship.
However, the manufacturers mean to raise this share of solar power in future. For the time being, Auriga Leader has appeared on the scene of environmental-friendly shipping as the first large ship in which the use of solar power is not limited to lighting or minor functions in the crew’s quarters.
The project leading to Auriga Leader was conceived by Nippon Yusen before the global financial recession that has lately resulted in a drastically decreased production of the auto industry.
The solar cargo ship will start with transporting vehicles, produced by the leading Japanese automaker Toyota, to other countries. The primary goal of launching a solar cargo ship is to cut fuel expenses as well as check carbon-based emissions – two important environment-friendly qualities that top the list of requirements for green transport.
At the moment, transport via sea ships contributes an estimated 1.4% to 4.5% of the total greenhouse gases emitted by different sources. Most alarming of these are the carbon-based gases, particularly carbon dioxide, which are responsible for most of the global greenhouse effect (global warming).
For this reason, the shipping industry is also under increased pressure from eco-conscious organizations and environmental bodies to curb its share of greenhouse gas emissions. By introducing Auriga Leader, Nippon Yusen has made a landmark achievement in establishing green maritime shipping while also contributing to Japan’s potential independence from foreign oil – a success that peaks for itself.