High as a kite

Element - - Clean Technology -

It’s the Os­cars of the sustainable ship­ping world. The Ham­burg-based com­pany Sky­sails re­cently won the ‘En­vi­ron­men­tal Tech­nol­ogy of the Year Award’ at the Sustainable Ship­ping Awards for its Sky­Sails sys­tem. The com­pany won for the progress it has made in mak­ing fea­si­ble huge kites at­tached to cargo ships when they are steam­ing down­wind, thereby re­duc­ing the fuel needed to run them. The wind propul­sion sys­tem is not new, but it is in­creas­ingly be­ing ap­plied to larger and larger ves­sels, and mak­ing real in­roads into fuel costs. De­pend­ing on the pre­vail­ing wind con­di­tions, a ship’s av­er­age an­nual fuel costs can be reduced by 10 to 35 per­cent by us­ing the Sky­Sails sys­tem. Un­der op­ti­mal wind con­di­tions, fuel con­sump­tion can tem­po­rar­ily be cut by up to 50 per­cent. Cargo ves­sels, fish­ing trawlers and su­per yachts of over 30m in length can all be fit­ted with the sails.

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