The freight recently announced plans to spend $1.37 million to have Nippon Oil Corp develop a 40-kilowatt solar panel system, with 328 panels, for its ships. The system is expected to be finished in December.
Initially the 60,000 ton carriers– which are big enough to carry 6,400 automobiles– will receive about 0.2 percent of their total energy from the solar panels. It would take 42 years to recoup the costs, according to Daily Tech estimates. However, if the company successfully installs a second ship with a system at a similar cost with a capacity to 1 or 2 percent — as the company is hoping to do by 2010– then the time to recoup costs would be reduced to about 4 years.
Other shipping companies are already having success with wind power. German windsail company, Beluga Skysail developed a sail which powers 20 percent of the ship’s energy needs, reducing fuel costs by as much as $1,500 per day. The investments are estimated to be recouped in about 3.5 years.
Some shipping companies are building bigger ships to cut down on fuel costs.