Dr. Pero Mićić

Today I’m reporting about very concrete solutions to a major environmental problem, where new markets and new jobs will emerge, and above all, a better quality of life. Why and what for? Because it has been my job for 30 years to inspire, encourage and support entrepreneurs and life entrepreneurs like you to build better futures. You can take the following case further and derive ideas and opportunities for your company, your job and your profession from it, precisely because it comes from a completely different industry. Today, it’s about wind power. But different.

Centuries old but somewhat new solution saves 90% of fuel

Shipping is a massive burden on the atmosphere. Shipping is responsible for 20-30 percent of all nitrogen oxides. More than 90,000 large ships sail the world’s oceans. They transport 90 percent of global goods traffic. And they still mainly use heavy fuel oil, which is much more polluting than diesel for road transport. Unlike road diesel, heavy fuel oil is hardly taxed at all, so it is very cheap and is therefore popular and widely used in shipping.

The solutions for the future often lie in ideas that are many years or even centuries old.
Oceanbird from Sweden will be a 200 meter long and 40 meter wide cargo ship that will be a futuristic sailing vessel. It will run on 90% wind energy. 90% less nitrogen oxides and climate-damaging emissions.

True, Oceanbird will travel about a third slower than heavy oil freighters and not carry containers, but still. It can carry 7,000 cars. The visionary motto of the entrepreneurs behind it is: “The wind helped us discover our planet – now it can help us preserve it.”

The first ship is scheduled to be delivered in 2024. Let’s hope they succeed, despite low heavy oil prices.

  1. There is a similar concept from VPLP that is being tested..
  2. There are also solutions for container ships, such as the Trade Wings from Alwena Shipping..
  3. Aquarius combines sails with photovoltaics and stores electricity in batteries on board.
  4. 100 years ago, the first ship sailed with Flettner rotors, a special type of wind power drive with rotors that look like smokestacks, and today Enercon’s E-Ship 1 uses them.

Wind is clean, inexhaustible and free. Up to 30% less diesel and heavy oil, or even 90% less as with the Oceanbird. An enormous contribution to the reduction of CO2 and nitrogen oxide emissions and to the improvement of the environmental balance of large polluting ships on the world’s oceans. Especially for the old ships that can be retrofitted. In addition, the necessary capacity of oil tankers will decrease significantly over the next few years when mobility changes to battery electric drives for all vehicles and partly to hydrogen for trucks.

How Michelin wants to use wind power

Michelin, or rather Michelin the tire manufacturer, has taken an intriguing idea all the way to a proven prototype. A sail for tankers and freighters that can be deployed and inflated on telescopic masts. They call it WISAMO, combined from Wing Sail Mobility. This allows these massively polluting ships to consume up to 20 percent less diesel or heavy fuel oil. Great for the climate. Michelin, after all, has undeniable expertise in compressed air-filled materials. Do you remember the Michelin man? They still use it in their logo. With a little imagination, these sails really do remind you of the Michelin man, don’t they?

How do you come up with such solutions for new markets and new jobs? From the idea of the first paraglider in 1985. The inventor, Laurent de Kalbermatten, together with his sailing colleague Edouard Kessi, already presented an inflatable sail for pleasure boats in 2017.

And when the ships are powered by hydrogen one day? Then the sails will save valuable hydrogen, which we do not simply find on earth, but which must first be produced by electrolysis using a lot of electricity, hopefully generated from renewable sources. Or one even uses the wind sails of Skysails to generate the hydrogen on board. There are also the first purely battery-powered cargo ships. But those are two other stories for further episodes.

Now what?

My point in this story, on the one hand, is to use an example to show that and how the future will be better than the present. And yes, science and technology are the drivers.

But for you, it’s more about the principles for the future and innovation that you can take from this case for your own business and your own job.

From the novel paraglider nearly 40 years ago to the recreational boat sail, innovation is now finding its way onto tankers and container ships. Here’s how it can work. Search history. Electric cars existed before Tesla and tablets before the Apple iPad. Also look to the edges of your business and even strategically related industries for ideas on how to better fulfill your company’s mission for your customers or even develop a new line of business.

You know, I do this kind of thing with my team for a living. We’d be happy to talk with you about how you can re-energize re-futurize your business. It’s easier than you think, works for very small businesses, and it motivates you and your team.

I wish you a bright future. Have a bright future!