Human Interest


Kite Ship to Battle Fuel Costs, Climate Change

January 27, 2008 09:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff

New kite technology will allow ships to utilize wind power and cut down on fuel costs and carbon emissions. It debuts in the same month as Iceland’s hydrogen ship.

30-Second Summary

The German ship MV Beluga SkySails set off on its transatlantic maiden voyage on Jan. 22. It is the first commercial freighter to use new technology that will save fuel and reduce carbon emission dramatically.

The freighter captures wind power via a large computer-steered kite, or “skysail.” The skysail looks like a cross between a paraglider and a kite.

If wind conditions are good, the kite could reduce fuel consumption by one-fifth, said Niels Stolberg, chief executive of Beluga Shipping, the ship’s owner.

Boats using the new technology will be more efficient than traditional sailboats as the kites are placed at a greater height, enabling them to capture stronger winds.

SkySails inventor Stephan Wrage told Reuters that SkySails is proof that “it pays to protect the environment.”

Rocketing fuel prices and the costs of fighting climate change have forced governments and companies to search for alternative resources of energy. This month Iceland's Elding will become the first commercial vessel to be powered by hydrogen.

Headline Links: Revolutionary technology

Related Links: Iceland’s hydrogen ship


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