Activist and author blogs about politics, energy and Earth's resources.
Bubbles could boost cargo ship efficiency
Could the power of tiny bubbles be used to boost the fuel-efficiency of cargo ships?
Sat, Mar 03, 2012 at 9:03 AM
My buddy Philip Proefrock
over at EcoGeek
found a cool story about a project to test the efficiency-boosting properties of blasting tiny bubbles of air
over the bottom of cargo ship hulls. In theory, the bubbles will act like a lubricant and allow the ship to move through the water using less energy. The bubbles would be released through custom blowers placed all over the hull and could cut a ship's fuel use by 5-20 percent. Even a 5 percent reduction in fuel costs on a ship that burns thousands of gallons of fuel per hour adds up to big savings, and cargo ships burn bunker oil, a particularly dirty variety of oil, so every gallon that we can prevent from being burned is a small step in the right direction.
It's crucial that we figure out how to move our cargo around the world using a whole lot less oil, and eventually we'll need to find a way to do it without using any
oil. Another fuel-saving technology that's being tested uses high-flying kites attached to the cargo ships
to harness the power of wind to pull them along.
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