July 5, 2007 UPDATED IMAGES For four hundred years majestic tall ships ruled the world’s oceans carrying cargo and migrants to far corners of the globe, but the advent of steam power in the late 19th century brought the golden age of sail to an end and rendered wind-powered vessels obsolete – but did it? Recent projects in both Europe and the U.S are seeking to breathe new life into this “old technology” and once again give sail-power a viable role in commercial shipping. The new era of sail-power wont see the return of square rigged barques or clipper ships, but rather the introduction of high-tech kite sails that generate greater propulsion power than conventional sails. These can be used to supplement the propulsion systems of all kinds of cargo vessels and in the process generate economic benefit, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and deliver emission reductions in a sector that has become one of the world’s biggest polluters.
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