High-Tech Sails for Cargo Ships?

I took some serious guff for surmising that the story here, about a new cargo ship with rigid, material-heavy sales is a joke. Check out this exchange:

Me: This is a joke, yes? Please tell me yes.

Parson A: (who posted it) Why?

Me: We’ve had trans-oceanic sail cargo ships for 400 years. Maybe 500.

Person A: Yes, we have. I’m still struggling to understand your objections.

Me: Why do we need a new one whose sails are made of some rigid material?

Person A; Hmmm… Seems like it would be impractical to rely on ships built on 19th Century design to meet our shipping needs in the 21st Century. But I think I do understand your point about not reinventing the wheel when we don’t have to. That said, rigid sails are demonstrably more efficient.

Person B: This is why change is hard. 🙂

Me: As Person A can attest, I’m not against change; in fact, developing and promoting environmental solutions is my life’s work. But I find it extremely difficult to believe that using the (variable) winds to power a cargo ship to cross the ocean, that, even on a good day (according to the article), adds time to the crossing, is reasonable place in which to invest resources. I honestly still think this is fake.

Now, I understand that replacing bunker diesel as the fuel for cargo ships is an extremely high priority.  Having said that, and I’m not an expert in this space, but I believe that cutting-edge thinking here lies in nuclear, battery electric, renewable natural gas, and hydrogen fuel cell.