The Australian company, Solar Sailor, has signed a deal with the largest Chinese shipping line COSCO to outfit their tankers with large solar-powered sails controlled by a computer that angles them for maximum wind and solar efficiency and the company claims that the sails will pay for themselves within four years.
The sails are 30 meters long, covered with solar PV panels that will provide 5 percent of the ships' electricity and will harness enough wind to reduce fuel costs by 20 to 40 percent.
The shipping and air travel industries have been the hardest to conform to new energy efficiency demands. Planes and tankers require huge quantities of fuel, but our global economy depends on both of them to survive, so they've been difficult industries to regulate. Even the latest environmental standards set by the EU included gimmes for shipping and airline companies.
It seems as though China is slowly but aggressively moving into a position of leadership in the transition to a global green economy.