for what it’s worth

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SKYSAILS: ENERGY SAVING IDEAS FOR SEA TRAVEL

Inspired by the most traditional of water-travel methods, SkySails aims to get cargo ships using wind power once again. With oil prices rising considerably, and industry increasingly interested in searching out cheaper alternatives, SkySails’ ‘wind propulsion system’ claims to be attracting a considerable amount of interest and it’s no great surprise why.

SKYSAIL

Essentially the system is two giant kites that act as sails that are connected through a towing rope rather than on a mast directly attached to the ship, plus a wind-optimised routeing system to get the best puff possible. According to the company, using the system average annual fuel costs can be lowered between 10-35% depending on the wind conditions, and up to 50% under optimal wind conditions. They estimate that at the current price of oil that could equate to a saving of 1/3 of a ship’s diesel costs. This has yet to be proved, though the company aims to do just that through it’s first commercial pilot, which launched on Tuesday.

‘A newly built cargo vessel was towed by the innovative wind propulsion of the Hamburg-based company SkySails on the North Sea near Bremerhaven, Germany for the first time. The 160m2 SkySails supported the main engine of the 132m long Multi Purpose Heavy Lift Carrier MS “Beluga SkySails” of the Bremen-based Beluga Shipping with approx. five tons tractive force at low wind.

The cargo ship will set off from Bremen to Venezuela and gain first experiences with the new system during the maiden voyage. “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”.

SkySails

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Filed under: evironmental insights,

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