Toyota to convert car carriers to solar power
Toyota has worked hard to create a green image with their cars. Now they are taking it one step further by adding solar panels to cargo ships that transport their cars to the United States. Two Japanese firms are building a solar power system to augment the diesel engines aboard the vessels. Fuel consumption on the 60,000-ton boat will be cut by 6.5 percent. Doesn’t sound like much? Well when you take into account that each ship burns approximately 120 gallons per mile, 6.5 percent can be a huge savings. The trip from Japan to California is around 6,000 miles, so the solar paneled cargo ship will save 46,800 gallons of fuel. In other words, on a solar ship carrying 5,000 Toyota’s, each car purchased would have saved nine gallons of fuel before customers ever even saw it.
The solar ships not only save fuel, but they also clear the air. Cargo ships burn "bunker fuel," the truly nasty stuff that literally comes from the bottom of the barrel. A study published in Environmental Science and Technology found emissions from the bunker fuel cargo ships burn may cause 60,000 deaths worldwide. Also contributing a whopping 44 percent of the sulphate found in fine particulate matter in the atmosphere of coastal California. So even the smallest cut in usage of "bunker fuels" is a huge step for Toyota and its cargo carriers.
And you thought the solar panel in the new Prius was a big deal.