Giant Kites Help Shipping Company Cut Carbon

Cargill, an international shipping company, recently partnered with Hamburg-based SkySails to use wind power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the industry.

SkySails developed a patented technology that uses a giant kite which flies ahead of a vessel to augment the power of its engines.

Next December Cargill will install a 320m2 kite on a handysize vessel of between 25,000 and 30,000 deadweight tonnes. The kite will generate enough propulsion to reduce consumption of bunker fuel by up to 35 percent in ideal sailing conditions.

The kite will be connected to the ship by rope, and is computer-controlled by an automatic pod to maximize the wind benefit and minimize extra work for the crew.

“The shipping industry currently supports 90 percent of the world’s international physical trade. In a world of finite resources, environmental stewardship makes good business sense,” said G.J. van den Akker, head of Cargill’s ocean transportation business. “As one of the world’s largest charterers of dry bulk freight, we take this commitment extremely seriously. In addition to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the SkySails technology aims to significantly reduce fuel consumption and costs.”

According to a United Nations study, up to 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) could be saved every year by the broad application of the SkySails’ technology on the world merchant fleet. This figure would equate to 11 percent of the CO2 emissions of Germany.

Related Reading:
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DOE Announces Major Funding For Offshore Wind Projects


Image Credit: ©2010 SkySails GmbH & Co. KG

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Stefanie W.
Past Member 4 years ago

More companies should try out the ideas from science fiction writers. Most of them have a science degree or something.

Maira Sun
Maira Sun4 years ago


Klaus P.
Klaus Peters4 years ago

Great idea and simple.

Sir Walk F.
Sir Walk F.4 years ago

Take a moment to do a search of "cargill" and see they are not a 'shipping company', but are an agribusiness giant.

James Morrow
James Morrow4 years ago

Puts a whole new meaning on the phrase, "Go fly a KITE!".

Krystyna H.
Krystyna H.4 years ago

What a wonderful simple idea. But yes, dumping in the oceans is another problem.

Lynn C.
Lynn C.4 years ago

Hurrah for ingenuity! Brilliant.
Now if we can just keep them from dumping their trash into the oceans...

Pradip C.
Pradip Chavda4 years ago

Ver Very Enterprising. Cargill you deserve all the butterflies from caret2action readers

julieanne bowes
julieanne bowes4 years ago

fantastic! thanks for the article.

Loo Samantha
Loo sam4 years ago

thanks for the good news.