Go Sail a Kite, Across the Ocean

Cargo ship hopes to cut fuel costs, emissions with old-fashioned power
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2008 6:23 PM CST

(Newser) – A ship partially pulled by a huge kite is starting its journey across the Atlantic today. The cargo ship—sailing from Germany to Venezuela—will test a new strategy of cutting CO2 emissions from ships by equipping them with computer-controlled kites. At more than 1,700 square feet, the kite could cut the ship's fuel consumption by as much as 20%, the BBC reports.

Fuel-burning ships account for 4% of the world's CO2 emissions, about double that of the aviation industry, the BBC notes. The folks behind the project acknowledge that using wind to move ships isn't exactly unprecedented, but they point out that it's quite different from traditional sailing. "We do not have any bothersome mast on deck which might be a hindrance to cargo-loading operations," says a project manager.