Capturing wind energy to power cargo ships
High energy prices and a desire to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, have led two German Companies to combine forces and try harness the oldest and cheapest source of energy - the wind.
The companies have developed a high-tech kite system, which will use computer-guided technology to pull large cargo ships across the oceans.
The first cargo ship to try this is the "MV Beluga Sky Sails, a 433ft (132 meter), cargo ship. The ship will make its first journey this month and go across the Atlantic to Venezuela (S. America) up to Boston (USA), and then back to Europe. A giant kite tethered (anchored), to a 15-meter high mast will pull the ship.
In order to get the maximum benefit of the most powerful winds, which are usually high above the surface of the water, the kite flies up to 300 meters high and helps tug the 10,000 tonnes ship forward, cutting down fuel consumption.
When the winds are strong, the sails are expected to cut fuel consumption by almost 20 percent or more and therefore also reduce pollution.
These sails are not cheap however, each one costing 500,000 euros or about $725,000 USD. But the manufacturer believes that the significant savings in fuel costs and the desire by companies to reduce pollution, will drive demand for their product. The video shows the "MV Beluga SkySails" being tugged along by the giant kite.