The Environmental News Network has reported that Japan has launched the first “partly” solar powered cargo ship. Lest you get too excited, read on:
Auriga Leader, a freighter developed by shipping line Nippon Yusen K.K. and oil distributor Nippon Oil Corp, took off from a shipyard in the western city of Kobe, officials of the two firms said.
The huge freighter capable of carrying 6,400 automobiles is equipped with 328 solar panels at a cost of 150 million yen (S$2.4 million dollars), the officials said.
The ship will initially transport vehicles being sent for sale overseas by Japan’s top automaker Toyota Motor Corp. The project was conceived before the global economic crisis, which has forced automakers to drastically cut production as sales dwindle.
Company officials said the 60,213-tonne, 200m long ship is the first large vessel in the world with a solar-based propulsion system. So far solar energy has been limited to supporting lighting and crew’s living quarters.
The solar power system can generate 40 kilowatts, which would initially cover only 0.2 per cent of the ship’s energy consumption for propulsion, but company officials said they hoped to raise the ratio. [emphasis–JR]
Okay, let’s see, a ship built by an oil company to carry automobiles (I wonder how many of them will be hybrids) from Japan to the United States that produces 0.2% of it’s propulsion from solar panels. If that doesn’t meet the definition of greenwashing I don’t know what does.