Winged cargo ship with revolutionary tech features completes impressive trial at sea: 'It's an exciting time'

One cargo ship is proving that the future of shipping can be both cheaper and cleaner by harnessing a powerful natural resource: the wind.

The Pyxis Ocean, a 47,000-ton bulk freighter chartered by Cargill, recently completed a groundbreaking six-month sea trial using a combination of diesel engines and high-tech sails, according to New Atlas.

The goal? To cut costs and curb the dirty pollution overheating our planet.

The ship's innovative "WindWings" were developed by BAR Technologies. These aren't your typical canvas sails — they're massive 123-foot-tall wings made of steel and glass fibers. An automatic system adjusts the wings to catch the wind for optimum speed, so the crew can throttle back the diesel engines without losing momentum, per New Atlas.

During its trial run across the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans, the Pyxis Ocean saved a whopping 3.3 tons (over 6,000 pounds) of fuel per day. That means this innovative transport vessel kept about 24,000 pounds of toxic carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere daily — which, over the course of the six months, is equivalent to keeping around 480 cars off the road, based on a calculator from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Overall, the ship cut pollution by 14%, per New Atlas.

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If maritime shipping were a nation, it would be the sixth-largest polluter in the world, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. But solutions like wind power could change that.

Not only does wind power mean cleaner air for port communities, but it also helps protect all of us from worsening climate impacts — from supercharged hurricanes to rising seas.

The Pyxis Ocean's successful journey is just the beginning. Plans are underway to install these wind wings on cargo ships worldwide, and other companies are making their own greener cargo ships, which could lead to a more literal sea change for the industry.

BAR Technologies' CEO John Cooper told New Atlas that with three wings per ship, "we anticipate the majority of Kamsarmax vessels will … further [increase] the fuel savings and emissions reductions by a factor of 1.5."

"With Cargill … now able to validate our performance predictions and modeling in real-world conditions, it's an exciting time as we begin to roll out WindWings production globally," Cooper added.

As more ships harness the wind, we can look forward to a future with less pollution, more savings, and a safer climate for all. These smart sails are steering us in the right direction — toward a greener, more innovative way to transport goods around the world.

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