Imagine a container vessel that uses less energy, reduces its carbon footprint, and is versatile enough to navigate inland ports. Such a vessel is in design now by Greenheart, a non profit with the mission to build and operate a zero-emissions trading ship for use in development, promotions, and education.
"At the core of the Greenheart Project is a new idea for a small ship:
one that combines reliable, universal sails with a simple and proven
solar panel / storage battery / DC electric drive. The present state of
the technology prevents the application of this type of hybrid system to
larger ships, but a one-container vessel that sails well, can use
electric motors to approach and exit harbors, navigate in restricted
waters, provide additional speed and steerage at sea, and reach inland
ports via canals and rivers. The obvious and most pressing application
for a small ship with these features is as an appropriate development
tool for impoverished coastal communities. With these end users in mind,
we have designed a vessel with three basic criteria: Simplicity,
Economy, and Low-impact," the website explains.