The Rolls-Royce of Ocean Shipping


The costs of fuel, combined with environmental concerns about the dirty bunker fuel burned by most freight ships, has some companies working seriously to upgrade sailing technology for 21st Century efficiency.


For example an Irish company, B9, designed this prototype 328-foot, 3,000-ton cargo ship, which has a backup Rolls-Royce biogas engine. Such ships would be costly to build—about $45 million each—but the designer claims that the ship would pay for itself in three years of its three decade (or so) expected useful life. Rolls-Royce is actively involved in bringing the ship from prototype to reality within the next few years. Use of such ships might help stabilize the costs of heavy, imported building materials such as tile, stone, steel and other raw materials such as lumber and concrete.

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