Solar-Powered Cargo Ship Debuts in Long Beach

A cargo ship equipped with 328 solar panels is currently docked at the Port of Long Beach, California as a demonstration project by the port, Toyota and shipping company NYK Line.  The ship is the first cargo ship to use the sun’s power for more than just small electrical applications.

The ship, the M/V Auriga Leader, will gather about 10 percent of its electricity needs from the solar panels.  While solar panels have been applied to large ships like this before, this is the first example where the solar energy goes directly to the ship’s electrical grid.  The ship’s thrusters, hydraulics and steering gear will all receive power from the sun’s rays.

Cargo ships of this size can easily use 400 kW of energy while at port, so even though the solar panel installations are only contributing 10 percent of the energy needed, they can still make a big difference.  We did notice that there seemed to be plenty of additional space that could be outfitted with solar panels.  Hopefully if this demonstration goes well, they will increase the number of solar panels and the amount of solar energy being generated by the ship.

via Inhabitat

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