6 June 2008


Sail ships are back.
A cargo ship with wind in its sails will take to the high seas, carrying the hopes of the shipping industry for a clean and green future free from the dependency on oil.

It's no ordinary clipper replete with rigging and tons of canvas. The MV Beluga, due to sail on its maiden voyage from the German port of Bremen across the Atlantic to Venezuela, is closer to a kite-surfer on steroids. Giant sails of 160 square meters complement the Beluga's existing power plant; the more wind, the less fuel is used.

Developed by SkySail, the propulsion technology is based on a similar concept to paragliding. It consists of a towing kite with a rope, a launch and recovery system and a control system for automatic operation. With future kite sails up to 600 square meters being proposed, it will cut fuel consumption in half in the right conditions. A significant advantage of the SkySail technology is it can be retrofitted to virtually all existing cargo ships and the force it exerts is similar to that of a tug.
:: via smart planet