Most people associate the company Michelin car tyres, guide books and stars quality restaurants. However, the French tyre maker is now helping ships to be more environmentally friendly. The company has tested giant sails that it hopes will make shipping greener. Shipping currently produces a lot carbon dioxide as oil tankers, container ships and giant cruise ships rely fossil fuels to move the world's oceans. Experts say the industry produces around 940 million tons CO2 annually, and that it is responsible about 2.5 per cent the world's greenhouse gasses. Michelin's engineers say their revolutionary new sails could reduce the amount CO2 produced the shipping industry by 20 per cent.
Michelin is using the ancient technology sails to tackle the most urgent problem facing the world today - climate change. Boats have used sails for 5,000 years to cross oceans or travel rivers. The new Michelin sails are different. They are inflatable. This means a ship's crew can fill the sails air to inflate them full size. The sails can be deflated quickly if a ship needs to sail a low bridge. The sails Michelin tested are 280 square metres size. The company hopes to start manufacturing and selling them 2022. A company spokesperson said: "Our aim is to contribute to the de-carbonization maritime transport." He added that the good thing wind is that it is a free fuel.