11 Jan 2018 0:28 (GMT+1)
A wind and sun powered cruise ship
Ecoship: a blueprint for sustainable shipping
Its maiden voyage is unlikely to take place before 2020 and cutting of the first steel is seemingly some way off too but the design principles have now been finalised for a vessel that is already being described as the world's greenest cruise ship.
Ecoship is a futuristic concept 55,000 ton cruise vessel characterised by its distinctive whale-resembling shape and ten huge retractable solar-panelled sails, retractable wind generators and future-ready hybrid engine. In terms of the plethora of on-board environmentally-friendly technologies, that's just for starters.
Plans for this floating flagship for green technology in passenger shipping - which is intended to become a world-class model for cruise operators - were unveiled at the recent international climate conference and sustainable innovation forum in Paris. This blueprint for sustainable sailing has been developed by a world-class team of engineers, scientists and innovators, each drawing on expertise and experience in shipbuilding and cutting-edge eco-technologies.
The Ecoship Project is the brainchild of Peace Boat, a Japan-based non-governmental organisation which has been running educational voyages and campaigning on behalf of peace, action on climate change and sustainable shipping for over 30 years. "The industry must adapt to the planet's needs," says Peace Boat founder and director Yoshioka Tatsuya. "Peace Boat's 2020 launch of the Ecoship offers a vision for a climate-friendly future and can lead the way towards a green cruising model that can also impact the wider shipping industry."
Ecoship's revolutionary design, inspired by nature "in both form and function", was developed following a charrette - intense planning and design activity - involving world experts on naval architecture, marine engineering, renewable energy, energy efficiency, maritime law, biomimicry and biophilia. This multi-disciplinary approach had never before been applied to the cruise industry and its innovative outcomes provide the basis for most of the vessel specifications. The aim was that, wherever possible, the design should use natural resources such as wind power to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency.
The ship's unique aerodynamic hull, designed to improve energy efficiency, is inspired by the shape of a whale, whereas the non-toxic, anti-fouling hull coating mimics fish skin. Other outcomes from the brainstorming design deliberations include natural heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and enhanced comfort based on biophilic principles - drawing on connections with the natural world.
What appears as a design blueprint for a next-generation luxury cruise ship is in fact a ground-breaking concept detailing a floating ecosystem for a multi-generation, on-board community living in a sustainable environment. Its future-ready design includes having pre-installed adaptive machinery to incorporate new technologies as they are developed, including the use of alternative fuels such as bio-fuels, kitchen waste and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Revolutionary aspects of this floating ecosystem's unique design include:
• energy recycling solutions - using a microscale combined heat and power generation system and an advanced, low-consumption heating, ventilation and air conditioning configuration which re-uses waste energy from the ship's engines
• maximising waste energy potential through exhaust gas boilers, auxiliary turbo generators and an additional steam generator system
• using a closed-loop water system and ensuring that wastewater is purified and, with rain and seawater, collected and re-used
• ship propulsion and hotel power requirements will be met by renewable energy supplied from retractable masts harvesting wind power. Even in low wind conditions the solar panel sails and on-deck solar farm will generate over 740kW of clean electricity.
The concept vessel's 'greenest' cruise ship description reflects the fact that it will produce no nitrogen or sulphur emissions and CO2 emissions will be 40 per cent lower compared with cruise vessels built before 2000 which use conventional propulsion.
"We are delighted to see wind propulsion being used on this innovative cruise ship design," says Gavin Allwright, secretary of the International Windship Association (IWSA). "We look forward to working together, helping to spread the message of low carbon, sustainable shipping worldwide."
Ecoship will carry 5,000 people a year and host events and exhibitions promoting green technology in 80 ports around the world. Peace Boat ultimately sees its pioneering vessel as a floating sustainability laboratory contributing to research on the ocean, climate and green marine technology.