photo: Bundesautobahn (Flickr CC)

The global shipping industry produces 3 billion metric tons of carbon emissions every year. That’s as much CO2 as the combined output of Japan, Canada, Mexico and Germany.

Greenhouse gas emissions from freight are a serious problem, but there are examples of alternative technology. One that is probably more familiar to most of us is the use of overhead electric cables, like the ones used to power tram lines or trolleybuses. Freight trucks could be powered in the same way.

In Brandenburg, Germany a project that uses such a method is being field tested.

From Deutsche Welle:

Freight trucks with electric motors connected to an overhead cable have more traction. They also have no direct emission and don’t have to carry the energy along with them.

–Bert Leerkamp, traffic engineer, Bergischen University, Wuppertal

Another, more ‘out there’ solution being proposed is the use of solar powered airships instead of the standard freight methods of rail, road, air and boat. Freight-carrying airships would travel at a height of 9,000 meters where photovoltaic solar panels are 30% more efficient than on the ground.

See this cool video animation from Al Jazeera English for more:

About The Author: Graham Land

Greenfudge editor and London-based writer Graham Land grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where he was part of the local hardcore punk scene, playing in several bands. Through this musical movement he became involved in grass roots interests such as anti-racist activism, animal rights and Ecology. In 2000 he relocated to Europe, eventually earning an MA from Malmö University in Sweden. He has also lived in Japan, Ireland, Portugal and Greece.


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