Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cargill to start flying kites across the ocean: SkySails will reduce carbon emissions of shipping vessels

Food and agriculture giant Cargill will soon start using giant kites on its shipping vessels to generate propulsion—and reduce fuel consumption by up to 35 percent.

The kites, a product of Germany-based
SkySails GmbH & Co., are 320 square meters in size, fly ahead of the vessels at a height of 100 to 420 meters, and are computer-controlled by an automatic pod to maximize wind benefits.
The kites will save up to ten tons of fuel a day.

Not that the kites themselves are new: we already knew they outperform regular sailboats and that they've been successful on trans-Atlantic freight trips.
And of course, the one positive move doesn't undo some of the more questionable, if not downright evil, practices we've known Cargill for in the past.

But it's worth recognizing nonetheless.
Cargill doesn't own or operate ships, but has identified a company that will test the technology, which will be installed in December.
Cargill and SkySails are planning to have it fully operational in early 2012.

According to Cargill, its ocean transportation business ships more than 185 million tons of agricultural, energy, and industrial commodities annually.
Cargill's G.J. van den Akker said, "As one of the world's largest charterers of dry bulk freight, we take this commitment extremely seriously. In addition to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the SkySails technology aims to significantly reduce fuel consumption and costs."

"We are delighted that Cargill is the first company to embrace our technology on a vessel this large as part of its commitment to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry," said Stephan Wrage, managing director of SkySails.
"We are excited that our technology will shortly be used on a handysize vessel for the first time and see great potential to incorporate it on larger ships in the future."

According to a UN study, up to 100 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions could be eliminated every year if the SkySails technology were adopted by the world merchant fleet on a large scale.

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