We’re delighted to be working with a new, really inspiring company – Smart Green Shipping, to find new ways to promote the fantastic ambition and vision they have – to transform International Shipping into a renewable energy phenomenon.
From an environmental point of view, Shipping isn’t very sexy at the moment, it’s all polluting tankers and sky-scraping cruise-liners swamping Venice.
But suppose ships stopped polluting the oceans and churning through diesel. Suppose tankers and ferries and cruise-liners used wind-power, like they did centuries ago? What if the next time you look out to sea from Liverpool docks, or Portsmouth harbour, or Glasgow waterfront you don’t see diesel-fuelled tankers and ferries, but instead you see 21st century sailing hybrid-ships?
This is the vision of the incredibly inspiring CEO of Smart Green Shipping, Diane Gilpin. ‘Shipping is very high up and right at the back on the ‘hard to decarb’ shelf,’ she says, ‘and consequently it’s been ignored and overlooked, but it simply must transform to zero-emission, if we are to survive as a species (and countless other species too). It’s Everest, the last unconquered (renewables investment) challenge.’
That’s why we’re really excited at Immersive Storylab to be part of the drive to make shipping sustainable again, and find innovative ways to support this vision. Well, it’s more than a vision – the technology is there to allow the system to be digitally enabled, 100% zero emission, fully autonomous, completely recyclable.
Yes, before long, if Smart Green Shipping are successful – which they will be, because this is a no-brainer really – there will be fleets of ships crossing the oceans with state-of-the-art sails. We’re not talking the Rime of the Ancient Mariner here. The risk of ending in the doldrums like erstwhile tall-ship galleons won’t be an issue. These 21st century ships will have pioneering GPS systems, relying on the latest satellite navigation, which will optimise power from every nuance in the winds.
Smart Green Shipping are currently developing technology which will automatically calibrate routes to find the fastest, most effective ways to get from A to B, using the power of the wind. Apart from the environmental imperative, it will be far cheaper and more energy-secure for shipping companies too – because they won’t be at the mercy of volatile oil prices. It’s a winner for every single player in the Shipping Game. And every person living on the planet.
Our collaboration with Smart Green Shipping is thanks to us both being European Space Agency incubation companies – we’re both exploring how Space Tech can be used to benefit non-space initiatives.
And that’s something else we want to sing about – not only are both our companies lucky to be investigating the value of new satellites and space tech in non-space tech environments, we’re also getting the support of the STFC who help bring companies like ours together. That’s one of the benefits of this Incubation – collaboration between like-minded companies. Before Immersive Storylab joined ESA BIC, we’d never heard of Smart Green Shipping.
Well we have now, and we want to shout about it. We want to tell the story of how shipping could turn from being the only transport system not committed to short term emissions reduction, still using the most polluting forms of fossil fuels, to being one of the cleanest and most sustainable. And we’ll use whatever skills we have to tell that story: Augmented Reality experiences, immersive documentary, TV drama, film…. It’s a 21st century tale of the high-seas, a tale of adventure and heroism – can they save the world before life on Earth has been damaged beyond repair; can they transform the deeply embedded fossil powered system against all the odds?
Of course they can, because we have to. We’re not just going to help tell the story, we’re determined to help ensure it has a happy ending…