The shipping industry is getting some bad press these days. If it isn’t the delays caused by container shortages or blocked shipping routes, it’s concerns about the industry’s impact on the environment. Now, one company is preparing a novel way of cutting emissions from vessels by pulling them across the ocean with the power of the wind.
Now, that might sound a bit like sails on a tall ship, but this isn’t the same.
So instead of reinventing the sail, Norwegian design firm Airseas has come up with something it calls a “Seawing.” This enormous creation is like a giant kite that can be launched from any vessel. The idea is that ships will launch these kites into the skies above them to catch the wind and then pull the boats along.
Dragging the boats across the oceans using wind power will help cut fuel costs and emissions, Airseas says.
Again, these might sound a lot like sails, but Airseas say they aren’t sails. They’re so much more than sails. In a release, Airseas describes the Seawing as “an automated kite based on parafoil technology.” Nifty.
The company explains that the new tech “combines aeronautical know-how with maritime technology to create a breakthrough in the maritime transportation sector.” That all sounds very impressive, for a sail!
According to Airseas, these sails, sorry I mean kites, will help cut shipping fuel costs by 20 percent, and can reduce the carbon emissions of a vessel by up to 5,200 tons of CO2 per year depending on the vessel and its voyage route.
This is quite impressive stuff, and could prove promising for the shipping industry in years to come.
Now, in order to test the viability of its enormous kites, Airseas will run trials of the Seawings in the new year. According to Bloomberg, a ship run by Airbus will test out the Seawings on voyages across the Atlantic.
The report says:
“The Ville de Bordeaux, a 154-meter-long ship that moves aircraft components for Airbus SE, will unfurl a 500 square meter kite on journeys across the Atlantic Ocean. It will undergo six months of trials and tests before full deployment.”
So this test kite will pave the way for a much larger Seawing. Bloomberg added that an even larger, 1,000 square-meter Seawing flying 300 meters above the ship could “cut fuel consumption and emissions from vessels by about 20 percent”.
If successful, Airseas says its automated Seawing kites can be fitted to almost any vessel, regardless of its size.