OSLO - ML - It is a return to the days of wind-powered cargo ships - but with a very modern twist.A Norwegian firm has unveiled plans for a radical new cargo ship with a hull so large it acts as a sail.The Vindskip, designed by Lade AS, uses a hull designed to act as a giant airfoil. The makers of the wind-powered hybrid merchant ship say that while engines are still needed, their design could achieve fuel savings of 60 per cent while reducing emissions by 80 per cent.Special software will monitor the wind conditions and calculate the best route for the ship.  The firm also says the design, which draws inspiration from the Aerospace industry to create the ‘symmetrical airfoil’ hull, could eventually be used for giant cruise ships. The company claims the airfoil helps harnesses a force akin to aerodynamic lift, pulling the ship along.It would use a liquefied natural gas-powered electrical generator for the remainder of its energy requirements and to get going from a standstill.Lade says it hopes to license the design to ship builders around the world.Last month, the world’s largest solar boat - the  MS Tûranor PlanetSolar - docked in London as part of its epic scientific discovery along the Gulf stream.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 21-Sep-2013 here.