Through the end of the last century, sailing ships carried a significant portion of the world's trans-ocean cargoes. But by the close of World War I, they had been virtually driven from the seas by steam ships that used low-cost fossil fuels for steady power and thereby kept reliably on schedule. Recent forecasts of world energy consumption and costs indicate that the price of marine bunker oil, which is about $15 per barrel as of this writing, may double or triple within the next decade. Such projections are of enormous concern to operators of the cargo ships now plying the seas: expenditures for fuel make up 20 to 30 per cent of the total cost of operating a modern vessel. In this context it is possible to identify the benefits of even a partial switch of the world's commercial fleet back to sail power. Sails constitute an elegant and technically feasible solar energy conversion system that remains unexploited by energy planners and industry.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Alumni Association
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02139
  • Authors:
    • Bergeson, L
  • Publication Date: 1979-3

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 22-36
  • Serial:
    • Technology Review
    • Volume: 81
    • Issue Number: 5
    • Publisher: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • ISSN: 1099-274X

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00197062
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Engineering Index
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 15 1979 12:00AM