Intelligent Energy

An oil supertanker powered by solar and wind

An oil supertanker powered by solar and wind

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Richard Sauter has designed a supertanker that will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent and save oil companies upwards of $60 million a year on fuel costs.

Delivering oil via supertanker is an expensive and dirty affair. Richard Sauter of Sauter Carbon Offset Design has come up with a solution that will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent and save oil companies upwards of $60 million a year on fuel costs.

Her name is Deliverance, a 2-million barrel 333,000 deadweight tonnage supertanker that is longer and narrower with a specially designed Mitsubishi hull that produces less drag and that obtains half of its power from solar and wind. Liquefied natural gas provides the remaining 50 percent of the power.

The supertanker is the latest in a long line of Sauter boats that use the latest tech to reduce fuel consumption and cut greenhouse gas emissions including a carbon neutral super yacht.

Here's how the GHGs reductions breakdown:

  • The tanker's design, which that includes Mitsubishi’s bubble hull and a Warsila duel fuel hybrid power system reduces fuel and GHGs by 35 percent;
  • An additional 20 percent to 30 percent reduction is achieved by using 500,000-square-meter DynaWing boom furling sails;
  • Another 15 percent to 20 percent reduction is accomplished by a Solbian solar power generating array.

The total diesel engine power requirement for a conventional 330,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) supertanker is about 30 megawatts, Sauter told me via email. By comparison, the total power requirement for Deliverance is 20MW. The sun and wind supply half, or 10MW, of that power.

Despite of this newfangled, cutting edge tech,  the Deliverance is not prohibitively expensive.  The Deliverance costs about 15 percent more than a conventional supertanker of the same size. However, an oil company can save up to $60 million a year, based on today's oil prices. Meaning the payback on the Deliverance is less than four years. And here's one detail that might get the attention of oil companies: Buying a Deliverance today will increase their earnings over the tanker's 25-year service life by more than $1.5 billion.

Photos: Sauter Carbon Offset Design

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Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure