24 January 2011

Sponge Metal Ships

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Sponge metal is tested to cut the weight of ships by 30 percent. Researchers from Fraunhofer Institute in Chemnitz, Germany, have developed an aluminum powder that foams when heated up. The new material is lighter than water and has a high stiffness

Lighter ships mean more freight, less trips and therefore less fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Veikko Hintsanen, a captain from Finland, and the researchers from Fraunhofer have designed a “Bioship” based on the new material. The ship has even more ecological features: running with liquid natural gas (LNG) it will avoid oil pollution in case of an accident.

Hintsanen is convinced that these ships could cut Finland’s carbon emissions considerably. Today trucks are used to transport wood from the remote forests to bio energy plants. The problem: if the distance is more than 50 km, road transportation becomes too expensive. Using the Bioships would make a big difference: the harvesting areas could be increased and thus support bio power plants in Finland.
 

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