Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ship gets pulled across Atlantic by Kite

Germany's SkySails and Beluga Shipping have been testing the concept of partially powering a cargo vessel using a giant kite. The multi-pur­pose heavy lift vessel Beluga SkySails left the port of Bremer haven for Guanta in Venezuela during mid-January equipped with a computer-controlled kite measuring 160 square meters (1,722 square feet), which the ship's owners are hoping will cut fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent and help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The multi-purpose vessel Beluga SkySails has become the first ship to use the new SkySails towing kite concept on a commercial voyage. The vessel's captain, and his crew underwent several months of intensive training prior to the voyage covering all aspects of launching, retrieving and stowing the kite. The ship was chartered to transport approximately 10,000 tons of cargo to Venezuela, most of it consisting of components for a particleboard plant that will be used for a government-sponsored housing project.

The maiden voyage marks the beginning of the practical testing during regu­lar shipping operations of the SkySails System," During the next few months we will finally be able to prove that our technology works in practice and significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions.