Inbound Logistics | March 2022

THELASTMILE Logistics Outside the Box

By air, by land, and by sea, these companies are making strides toward net-zero emissions in supply chains. RACE TO ZERO


Concept: The MightyFly MF-100 is a hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft with a cargo capacity of 100 pounds, max speed of 150 mph, and range of 600 miles. It is approximately the size of a midsize car. A larger aircraft with a cargo capacity of 500 pounds is also in development. With its hybrid propulsion system, MightyFly autonomous aircraft recharge batteries in flight, making it possible to perform deliveries to multiple hubs along one flight route. Update: MightyFly completed autonomous flights of its MF-100 autonomous aircraft in the Bay Area. Goal: To offer a carbon-neutral middle-mile and last-mile cargo solution for companies. MightyFly uses existing infrastructure—hubs in cities, suburbs, and rural areas—to offer a cost-effective solution.


ABOARD THE ELECTRIC TRAIN Innovator: Parallel Systems Concept: Autonomous, zero-emissions rail cars that can drive on tracks independently and form platoons with other cars when loaded. While traditional freight trains are used for large freight volumes moving over long distances, these rail cars can be deployed quickly and make more efficient use of current rail infrastructure. Update: With a $4.4-million grant from the Department of Energy, startup Parallel Systems will test the rail cars’ performance and eventually build a third-generation design that can come to market. Goal: The rail cars can eliminate 2.8 million metric tons of CO2 pollution a year, the company estimates.

Concept: 16,000-TEU container vessels powered by carbon- neutral methanol. The series, built by Hyundai Heavy Industries for Maersk, comes with a dual-fuel engine setup that can operate on methanol and low-sulphur fuel. The vessels can complete a round-trip, say Asia-Europe, on methanol. Update: The first vessel is scheduled to be in operation at the start of 2024. Goal: The design boosts energy efficiency by 20% per transported container, compared to the industry average for similarly sized vessels. The series is expected to save around 1 million tons of annual CO2 emissions.

Source: Fast Company

96 Inbound Logistics • March 2022

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