We are always on the lookout for “green” stories so were pleased when a friend forwarded a link to Skysails, a German based company looking to augment tradition ship propulsion systems with kites.
SkySails tells us:
SkySails is now offering a wind propulsion system based on large towing kites, which, for the first time, meets the requirements of shipping companies.
By using the SkySails-System, a ship‘s fuel costs can be reduced by 10- 35% on annual average, depending on wind conditions. Under optimal wind conditions, fuel consumption can temporarily be reduced by up to 50%. Even on a small, 87 metre cargo ship, savings of up to 280,000 euros can be made annually.
They are not the only company trying to harness the power of wind to propel ship, San Francisco base KiteShip.com a maker of kites for sailboats, is also trying expand into the commercial shipping industry.
“KiteShip is also working on marine applications as diverse as towing oil rigs and other large marine structures, diverting icebergs from oil platforms in high latitudes and in autonomous robot towing of relatively safe cargo such as bagged water,liquid fructose and the like.”
Both companies have tested the technology with (according to them) success. gCaptain will be bringing you more on this story in the future, so stay tuned.
Note: We have updated this post in a comprehensive look at Green Ship Propulsion
Here’s a video showing how the system works;