While the Navy tries its best to design, fund and procure ships to modernize the fleet, the high costs of fuel are undercutting its efforts. Here are two developments that, while doing little to enhance lethality or maneuverability, may help it substantially reduce costs during peacetime operations.
First comes Japanese work on adding solar generation to a 60K ton cargo ship which is estimated to reduce diesel consumption by 6%. Then there's a new wind energy solution that's far afield from T Boone's Texas turbine dreams. A really big kite mounted on a container ship just saved the owners 20% of their fuel costs. Individually we're talking many millions of dollars of savings per year. Together, wind and solar might save enough energy to allow for the purchase of a few new ships that otherwise would not have been attainable.
On a lighter note, I liked this comment from a reader on the site covering the kite technology breakthrough:
Oh, my! Next thing you know they'll install really tall poles on the ships with these crossbeam things and big sheets of canvas ... I know: Let's call them "sails"!!!Photo courtesy of Beluga SkySails