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Cargill Cargo Ship to Use Huge Kite to Reduce Fuel Consumption

Feb 28 2011, 9:36am CST | by , in News | Cars & Vehicles

Cargill Cargo Ship to Use Huge Kite to Reduce Fuel Consumption
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Kite power saves 35% fuel consumption

Going green is a big deal in more than just the automotive industry. Cargo shipping firm Cargill has announced that it has signed an agreement with Skysails to use a gigantic kite to help propel the ship with green wind power. The gigantic kite can reduce the power consumption of the ship by up to 35% in ideal sailing conditions. The 320m2 kite will be installed on a ship next December that is in the 25,000 to 30,000 deadweight tonnes range.

The massive size of the ship will make it the largest vessel propelled by a kite in the world. The giant kite will be attached to the ship via a rope and flies at a height of 100 to 420 meters in a figure eight formation.

"For some time, we have been searching for a project that can help drive environmental best practice within the shipping industry and see this as a meaningful first step," said G.J. van den Akker, head of Cargill's ocean transportation business. "The shipping industry currently supports 90 percent of the world's international physical trade. In a world of finite resources, environmental stewardship makes good business sense. As one of the world's largest charterers of dry bulk freight, we take this commitment extremely seriously. In addition to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the SkySails technology aims to significantly reduce fuel consumption and costs. We are very impressed with the technology and see its installation on one of our chartered ships as the first part of an ongoing, long-term partnership."

These kites are not a new way to propel ships and they have been around for a while. They work basically just as a sail on a sail boat does, but since winds aloft are often more powerful than the winds on the surface the height of the kite can make them even more efficient. The thing I always wonder about is exactly how the kites are launched and retrieved. Since they are attached by a rope, I would assume a pulley would bring the kite down to the deck for the crew to pack up.

The kite will be a significant savings not only in fuel, but in pollution produced by the ships engines as well. A study conducted by the International Maritime Organization fund that the use of Skysails could result in up to a 100 million ton reduction in CO2 production each year. That works out to 11% of the CO2 emissions of Germany saved by using the kite tech.

"We are delighted that Cargill is the first company to embrace our technology on a vessel this large as part of its commitment to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry", said Stephan Wrage, managing director of SkySails. "We are excited that our technology will shortly be used on a handysize vessel for the first time and see great potential to incorporate it on larger ships in the future."

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