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This Sleek, New Solar-Powered Ship Is a Game Changer in Fighting Climate Change | Architectural Digest


If the constant release of new iPhones indicate anything, it’s that people crave to have the next best thing. After all, we’re a forward-thinking species. One Belgian entrepreneur and economist, though, is focused on something perhaps more important: The present. Gunter Pauli’s new venture—a solar-powered, 118-foot-long, 79-foot-wide ship dubbed Porrima—may not be the quick solution to environmental events, but it’s certainly helping. More importantly, it’s offering a legitimate response to climate change that could very well change the world.

Ships used for trade—not the ones Russian billionaires keep as toys or the cruises that traverse the Caribbean—generate more carbon dioxide than aviation annually. What’s more, they disrupt marine-based ecosystems and contribute to acidification. “Ocean transport emits more carbon than all planes combined. Porrima has proven that we can power ships with hydrogen from seawater, solar power panels, and more,” Pauli explains over an email exchange. “Actually, we generate so much energy that we have too much, allowing us to help the ocean by way of air bubbles.” The air bubbles Pauli’s referencing are the ones used in specialized nets to prevent overfishing. These unique nets can separate fish by weight, and they release the heavier reproductive females. Another fascinating feature of the ship is that there’s a miniature farm that can cultivate edible algae and mushrooms.

Porrima is sailing across the world, starting in Osaka, Japan. The plan is that by 2024, the vessel will arrive on the west coast of the United States.

Photo: Courtesy of Porrima

Porrima’s plan is to revolutionize the shipping industry in an extremely meaningful way. Until recently, Porrima was just nothing more than an optimistic nod toward the future, but as of December 18, 2021, it’s become a reality. The ship left from Osaka, Japan, and is planning on docking on five continents, including North America. In fact, it will make a pit stop on the United States’ West Coast in 2024. Pauli claims, “The ship will change the logic of fishing and time chartering boats.”


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