Monday, May 31, 2010

German fishing boat flies giant kite to save fuel

Germany's largest fishing vessel is towed by a giant kite harnessing trade winds that will help cut its fuel consumption by up to a third.

The 15,000 ton 'Maartje Theadora' is the first fishing vessel to use the system, in which a 160 square metre blue and white kite similar to a paraglider pulls the ship on a 300 metre rope, assisting its main engine."

The SkySails system is expected to cut Maartje Theadora's fuel consumption by about 10 per cent in the first phase of the pilot project, supported by about 780,000 euros ($1.16 million) of funding from the European Union and Germany.

The kite, which can be used at wind speeds 18 knots and above, can add 1,000 kilowatts (kW) of power to the ship's 8,000 kW engine. SkySails hopes to eventually double the system's power.

Over the next two years Diederik Parlevliet, head of fishing firm Parlevliet & Van der Plas, operator of the ship, expects fuel savings will increase up to 30 per cent, and greenhouse gas emissions will be significantly reduced.