I recently came across a site with a number of interesting "eco-marine" water crafts. From wind, solar, and hybrid marine-powered ships, the company, Eco Marine Power, says it aims to develop ships that use less fuel and emit less pollution.
Furthermore, in July 2010, a project was started in Japan to develop a commercial system for using wind power and solar energy on-board ocean going vessels. This project and the system have been named "Aquarius" and its development involves a number of different companies and experts.
The Eco Marine Power Aquarius System will allow ships to use wind power and solar energy in order to reduce fuel consumption and lower noxious gas emissions. In addition, ship owners and operators will be able to reduce the C02 footprint of their fleet and employ the Aquarius Wind and Solar Power System on a variety of ships and vessels.
The system is being designed so that it will require little attention from the ships crew, will be relatively easy to install, and offer an attractive return on investment for shipping companies. The system will use solar modules and rigid sails connected to a central control and monitoring system. A prototype version of the system is planned to be ready by early 2012.
Additionally, the 'Tonbo' design project aims to bring Hybrid Marine Power technology with solar panel and lithium batteries. This design project was started in September 2010 and it is expected a detailed design concept will be ready by early 2011.
The Tonbo vessel will be suitable for operation on rivers, bays or lakes and be capable of crusing at low speeds purely on solar-electric power alone. Below is an interesting video of the concept. Whether or not these devices will immediately become a reality, I think it's encouraging to see how creative engineers are incorporating greener energy into more and more industries.