by Jesus Diaz
The SkySails system, a huge computer-controlled kite that can tow cargo vessels and superyachts, reducing their fuel consumption by up to 30%, has been successfully tested this weekend.
The ship HV Beluga Skysails started its maiden voyage from the city of Hamburg and deployed its 1,722-square-foot to save around 10% of fuel. The SkySail is completely automatic, and looking at it in motion makes you wish all ships had one: You can see the Skysail in action here.
The technology is different than traditional sailing systems because the sail area and the ship are separated by a towing rope. According to them, this result in higher power, easier deployment and higher safety than traditional sails (even automated ones.)
The company plans to sell kites that will generate 5,000kW. And while fuel consumption can be reduced by 50% under optimal wind conditions, they say the average will range from 10 to 35%, enough to guarantee that transportation companies would adopt it, if not to reduce resources, save the planet and hug trees, to help their bottom line against oil prices. [SkySails via Splutch]