Cargo ship is being pulled through the ocean by Giant Kite


You mean … a sail?

Sailing away

It looks like a renewable energy company reinvented the wheel … uh, sails. According to Gizmodo, a huge cargo ship with a large kite will pull itself across the ocean next month.

Airseas, a French renewable energy startup, will test run a parafoil kite around 5,380 square feet in early 2022 Bloomberg. It will be attached to a 505-foot ship called the Ville de Bordeaux, which will test the kite – called the Seawing – for six months before returning to its regular route.

On its website, the company says it’s a big goal to have environmentally friendly propulsion systems for 10 percent of the world’s cargo fleet by 2030. Technically, the kite is not attached to the deck of a boat like a typical sail. Renderings show the kite soaring high above the boat, and Airseas has said it can be retrofitted for any type of ship.

Why Knot

Gizmodo reports that 80 percent of all goods in the world are transported on around 50,000 ships. Cargo ships use a particularly nasty source of energy called “bunker fuel,” which is estimated to be more than 2 percent of global carbon emissions and between 10 percent and 15 percent of global sulfur oxide and nitrous oxide pollution.

It’s worth noting that the Ville de Bordeaux and other ships using the Seawing will continue to use their engines, but should be able to increase fuel economy by taking advantage of the wind too. If it really cuts emissions and Airseas achieves its goal of equipping 10 percent of the world’s fleet quickly, then who cares if the Seawing is just a new type of sail?

We need all hands on deck to fight climate change if we hope to survive.

More about changing environments: Video shows dozens of wild boars invading the neighborhood

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About Christine Geisler

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