Wind power on the high seas is not a new concept, but propelling larger container ships to save on oil consumption when traveling across the oceans is an innovative technology.
In the world of desperate need for sustainable clean energy, SkySails headquartered in Hamburg, Germany are leading the path to wind power ships that can reduce if not eliminate the need for oil fuel.
The concept of floating a sail high above and where the wind has more velocity is the business of capturing wind energy that is free, clean and a savings to shipping companies. The carbon impact of a ship is reduced immensely and greatly lessens CO2 emissions.
Skysails is able to become the main source of energy for transporting ocean vessels without much need for fossil fuels. The estimated savings is anywhere from 10 up to 35 % fuel savings currently which adds up for larger fleets.
History of SkySails Wind Technology:
Skysails was the innovation that began in 2001 with two principals, Thomas Meyer and Stephan Wrage who are shipbuilding and offshore engineers.Skysails later has developed a partnership with DSM Dyneema and Gleistein Ropes for production and North Sails New Zealand for the towing kites.
The first ship MS Beluga Skysails was launched on December 17, 2007 almost five years ago, as the world’s first commercial cargo ship partially powered by sail and wind.
The Beluga set sail from Germany to Venezuela and during the voyage saved 10 to 15% in fuel costs or up to $ 1,500 dollars per day or a whooping $ 84,000.00 in fuel costs. Shipping companies have already started to slow the speed of ships to help cut fuel costs and reducing CO2.
Later SkySails was used on a fishing trawler, the Maartje Theadora which is Germany’s largest fishing ship that travels to the African coast and the South Pacific Ocean. As SkySails scales up to even greater energy savings it is expected to save approximately 50% of fuel costs on ocean going vessels.
Cost of Fuel for Ships Carrying Oil
Increasing oil price hikes in 2012 also increases cargo oil freighters who are using oil to fuel their ships carrying oil.
Higher Fuel Costs in 2012
Last year, bunker oil prices were quoted at $680.00 per /metric ton and for a VLCC – Very Large Crude Carrier this means in terms of dollars, $680,000.00 a day for fuel costs. (GCaptain.com)
For large ship fleet brokers like MJFL & Associate one of the largest companies on the sea with 36 ships that fuel savings can be well worth investing in wind energy.
Currently, in the world there are approximately 550 VLCC’s using a vast amount of oil fuel and another 150 more ships added each year. The need for cost savings on this scale, cannot be ignored.
Shipping Pollution Rates are Underestimated
The Guardian Reported in 2009: “Confidential data from maritime industry insiders based on engine size and the quality of fuel typically used by ships and cars shows that just 15 of the world’s biggest ships may now emit as much pollution as all the world’s 760 million cars.
Low-grade ship bunker fuel (or fuel oil) has up to 2,000 times the sulphur content of diesel fuel used in US and European automobiles.” That is 760 Million cars!
How it Works:
The sail or foil kite is approximately 3,400 square feet and flies up to 1,000 feet above the water that runs totally on automation. By flying so high the sail captures high velocity winds that carry the ship
The Future of Energy is In The Wind -SkySails
Video One: The Latest in Wind Technology fitted to a variety of vessels large or small capturing the high altitude winds all computerized and automated to reduce fuel consumption. Ocean going vessels are also being powered by solar power to save on energy.
The SkySail can produce a pulling force that is greater than that of an Airbus Jet A321 Engine