Capturing wind energy to power cargo ships

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Photo credit: skysails Gmbh

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.

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30 Comments
  • Andrewalmost 6 years
    The rope has to be strong to be pulled. I disagree with Kendall.
    • .over 7 years
      what do you mean break off, the ropes are pronabably made in china
      • mindstorms
        mindstormsover 7 years
        that is cool
        • lunamoonamare
          lunamoonamareover 8 years
          The kite looks a little small, and I agree with Kendall.
          • Kendall Lennonover 8 years
            These kites are a good idea, but, if the winds are to strong couldn't the kite break off of the ship?
            • gracyover 8 years
              cool
              • Creeper4566 over 8 years
                This was a cool thing to study
                • Flackover 8 years
                  OMG THAT IS SO COOL!!!!!
                  • jacobogmediaarts
                    jacobogmediaartsover 8 years
                    It is a good idea to convert wind energy to electrical energy because it is cheap and it also reduces pollution in the ocean and the cost of fuels.
                    • noahover 9 years
                      I like this idea for the kite to pull the ship. Even if there is little wind they have fuel to keep going. It would be a huge let-down if it malfunctioned. It also cuts down on pollution instead of a giant pipe blowing out smoke. Although it is expensive, fuel I think would build up and eventually cost more then the kite did. Ships burn about $99,000 worth of fuel each day.