B9 Shipping will launch an eco-friendly cargo ship powered by conventional soft sails and biogas marine engines in 2012.

The company said there is scope to replace nearly 10,000 coastal vessels of a similar size with green cargo vessels.

The company anticipates that by 2020 about 50 ships will be needed to bring the biomass industry into compliance with the Renewable Energy Directive.

B9 Shipping director Diane Gilpin told reporters in London that the use of eco-friendly ships would mean the benefits of biomass would not be cancelled out by pollution caused by transportation, according to the BBC.

“The International Energy Agency has estimated that biomass power generators will need up to 45 million tonnes of biomass a year” Gilpin said.

The launch of B9’s first vessel will coincide with the opening of new biomass power stations across the UK, and its ships will be used to import bio material from the Baltic States.