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The idea is to design designed cargo ships with retractable sails, which could eventually help to cut fuel use by up to 30 percent.
The tall, narrow sails, measuring 64 feet wide by 164 feet tall, would be constructed from tubes of strong, lightweight aluminum and a fiber-reinforced plastic. Reacting independently and automatically, they would be able to harness the winds along the optimum route, even taking advantage of difficult crosswinds.
Taking the load off the ship's engines would save wear on the mechanics, cut fuel costs, and reduce toxic emissions.