Thursday, January 24, 2008
The world's first commercial cargo ship partially powered by a giant kite is setting sail from Germany to Venezuela. The MS Beluga Skysails has a computer-controlled kite, measuring 1,722 square feet. The kite will help the ship cut its fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent. Since fuel-burning ships account for 4 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, or twice as much as the aviation industry produces, the ship's designers hope the vessel's technology might help curb global climate change.The ship's maiden transatlantic voyage is from the northern port of Bremerhaven, Germany, to Guanta, Venezuela, the British network reported. The maiden voyage marks the beginning of the practical testing during regular shipping operations of the SkySails System, Stephan Wrage, managing director of SkySails GmbH, said on the company's Web site. During the next few months, we will finally be able to prove that our technology works in practice and significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions.