Sunday, January 27, 2008

Wind-Powered Freighter Crossing the Atlantic

Admittedly, we are a bit late to this story, but better late than never.

Beluga Group equiped a shipping freighter with a sail, specifically a SkySail, a parachute-shaped sail that is the size of a football field. The Ship, MS Beluga SkySails, departed on its first trans-Atlantic voyage earlier in the week. According to Beluga and SkySail, a ship‘s fuel costs can be reduced by 10- 35% on annual average, depending on wind conditions. Under optimal wind conditions, fuel consumption can temporarily be reduced by up to 50%.

During the fuel crisis of the 1970s, the idea of adding sails to fuel-powered freighters to reduce costs was floated around, but the technology wasn't available to make it work. Even earlier, in 1966, the DynaRig, a modern version of a square-rig, was conceived in Germany as a means to add sails to freighters, but it was never tested because the technology wasn't available to make the masts. Fast forward 35 years and this is a viable option. In addition to the SkySail, the DynaRig is the powerplant behind Tom Perkins' 288-foot Maltese Falcon.

The fact that the SkySail technology can be easily adapted to most cargo ships leads us to believe that we'll start to see more creative wind-powered solutions to help the world's shipping fleets reduce costs.

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At Tuesday, March 04, 2008 6:42:00 PM, Blogger Art said...

Thanks for this! Our trade routes have always been north-south between the Canadian Atlantic Provinces and New England. Some "recently-borns" think they have reinvented this and are building a hype for what they call "short sea shipping" - coastal freighters by any other name. A move to energy-efficient sail could add an interesting and environmentally sensible twist to all this. I've used your information to put this thought forward at:

Thanks again. Art MacKay

At Wednesday, April 08, 2009 1:07:00 AM, Blogger graciela said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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