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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Energy Saving Cargo Ships

With the cost of diesel fuel running so high the cost of shipping products of any kind is effecting many of the things you and I buy every single day. Those big tankers and container ships do not get the kind of mileage your Chevrolet does and any cost savings to the company is a direct savings to the manufacturers which can then be passed on to the consumer. In the nutshell, if Sony can ship a product from Japan to the United States and the bill to do so is 10% or 35% lower then that savings can be passed on to you the consumer.

Originally, I found this on the Boston Globe but they didn’t do the piece any justice. Picture a tanker or container ship with a couple of huge parachutes pulling ahead of them. This is new technology but then again it isn’t. We used to call them clipper ships but the sails were attached to the ship itself and not on a tow line. This technology has tweaked that and improved it to save energy. Testing is still going on now as I type to see how much savings.

SkySails: Energy Saving Ideas For Sea Travel
by Amanda Gore in Ethical Consumerism, Transport & Travel, Environmental

Inspired by the most traditional of water-travel methods, SkySails aims to get cargo ships using wind power once again. With oil prices rising considerably, and industry increasingly interested in searching out cheaper alternatives, SkySails’ ‘wind propulsion system’ claims to be attracting a considerable amount of interest and it’s no great surprise why.

Essentially the system is two giant kites that act as sails that are connected through a towing rope rather than on a mast directly attached to the ship, plus a wind-optimised routeing system to get the best puff possible. According to the company, using the system average annual fuel costs can be lowered between 10-35% depending on the wind conditions, and up to 50% under optimal wind conditions. They estimate that at the current price of oil that could equate to a saving of 1/3 of a ship’s diesel costs. This has yet to be proved, though the company aims to do just that through it’s first commercial pilot, which launched on Tuesday.

You can check out the video here… SkySails

When it comes to any energy savings device then I am all for it. From time to time I find these interesting little morsels of new technology and post them on Papamoka. Apparently, so are the Germans that created this new idea for the shipping industry. One thing is certain, OPEC is going to be in trouble if ideas like this one spread and somebody builds a better mouse trap.

I’m sure that there was thousands of ours engineering this idea and I heartily congratulate the people that are moving this forward. Any ideas that can make a dent in our worlds reliance on oil is a good thing. Sometimes it’s great being an infadel.

Check back here soon for the next tid bit of new thoughts on how to screw over big oil special interests. I have to tell you that this one blew me away and no pun intended.


Cross posted at and Bring IT ON!

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cargo ships, container ships, oil tankers, lpg tankers, cruise ships, shipping, diesel fuel, gallons per hour, energy saving, shipping news, cruise lines, wind surfing, wind power, green ships, world markets, world commerce, Europe, china, japan, Sky Sails, SkySails

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