DOE Pumps $119M More into Fuel-Cell Research; Introduces Manufacturing R&D Roadmap
EPA Will Fund $3M in West Coast Diesel-Reduction Projects

Beluga Shipping to Try “Wind Hybrid” Kite Propulsion Assist for Cargo Vessel

The components of the SkySails system. Click to enlarge.

Beluga Shipping GmbH, a Bremen, Germany-based shipping company, has purchased a new towing-kite propulsion assist system from SkySails, a start-up company in Hamburg, Germany.

The SkySails towing-kite propulsion system uses offshore wind power (a kind of “wind hybrid” propulsion assistance) to cut a ship’s fuel consumption by up to 50%, thereby also reducing emissions.

The SkySails technology is ready for market entry exactly at the right time. The rising and continuously high price of oil is a matter that ship owners are already dealing with in order to be competitive in the present and future market. Furthermore, significantly tightened emission regulations, through which increasing costs will accrue, are being put into place.

Offshore wind energy is an unbeatable cost-effective propulsion source available in large quantities, and we expect to gain a considerable competitive advantage by using the innovative SkySails system as a pioneer in this field. We are convinced that the SkySails system will revolutionize the cargo shipping industry.

—Niels Stolbergs, captain and managing partner of the Beluga Group

The first SkySails system (SKS 160) will be installed on the newly built 140m multipurpose-heavy cargo freighter MS Beluga SkySails, with the first demonstration cruises using the new system taking place in 2007.

With the proof-of-concept provided by the MS Beluga SkySails, SkySails hopes to begin regular sales in 2008.

The SkySails system consists of a large towing kite similar to a paraglider of up to 5,000 m2 in area, which is connected to the ship via a towing rope, and managed by a fully automatic control pod. Route optimization software helps chart a course designed to maximize the wind power benefit.

The cross-sectional profile of the aerofoil is adjustable via the use of compressed air to achieve optimal aerodynamic properties at all wind speeds and under various weather conditions. At very high wind speeds the performance of the aerofoil can be reduced without having to reduce the area. (No “hauling in” sails.)

The lift of the aerofoil offsets its lateral pull on the ship, thereby eliminating the potential danger of heeling present with conventional sail systems, according to the company.

A traveller car takes up the towing line from the kite, and leads it to a winch. The traveller car moves on a traveller fixed circumferentially along the outside of the hull. The traveller takes up and transmits the strain of the towing kite. The location of the traveller car—and hence the point of attachment of the kite to the ship— is dependent on the ship’s course and the wind direction.

The towing kite is designed to be flown between 100 to 500 meters of altitude.

SkySails can boost speed or decrease fuel consumption.

By using the SkySails technology ship owners can either increase speed of the ship or reduce fuel consumption to reduce the ship’s operating costs.

A study from the University of Delaware in 2003 found that the world shipping fleet (including military vessels) consumes approximately 289 million tons of fuel (about 2 billion barrels, or about 5.5 million barrels per day) annually, with 80% of that represented by heavy fuel oil (HFO). That’s a figure about twice what was earlier thought, and hence with twice the emissions load.

Emissions from cargo ships are disproportionately damaging to the environment because they run on low-grade, high-sulfur fuel oil. Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance estimate that shipping traffic is responsible for more than 7% (10 million tons) of the total worldwide output of sulphur dioxide.

SkySails calculates that the use of its technology worldwide could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 146 million tons (about 0.6% of the entire global energy-related emissions of CO2).

Skysails estimates the potential upgrade market for its system at more than 40,000 ships. Through 2013, the company is targeting less than 1% of that market—about 400 ships.




By using the SkySails technology ship owners can either increase speed of the ship or reduce fuel consumption to reduce the ship’s operating costs.

To be more precise, ship owners can both increase speed or reduce fuel consumption.

I'd expect that, to a first approximation, you take a point on the higher curve, and you can move rightward and/or downward in any combination.


cool idea. i hope it works.


I wonder if they can get the ship to do forward loops like the kite sailors do.


Very ambitious. Though I would say it would probably be safer to lower the attach point cale rail to below the water level. this would stop any sudden rotation jerking present of the wind suddenly changes direction or speed. Unlike a sail boat, this ship cannot afford to be jerked around.
Question: What if by some freak event the skite falls in the water. How would they get it up again when it becomes wet and heavy? And I can very well believe the kite is heavy as is in order to have the strength to pull such a boat.


Arrrr. Avast there me hardies! The age of sail is reborn! I wonder what the best point of sailing is.

Adrian Akau

Could not this technology be used to send up an egg-beater type wind generator to generate electricity for homes? A large kite would be sent up to about 100 meters to reach winds of good velocity. Then the generator could be raised up by flying the kite another few hundred meters up. Is this impossible?

[email protected]



압류/설정 이걸려 명의이전이 어려운차 각종골치아픈차
정상이전 하여 매입합니다 ☏010/3072/9962

글지우기 비번 00990011


▶압류차▶설정차▶이전어려운차▶할부금연체된차▶전부매입 010-3072-9962

압류차,설정차,이전불가차,할부금미납한차 각종 이전어려운차 전부 매입합니다~

연락만주세요 010/3072/9962 정상적으로 이전해서 매입합니다~

골치아픈차 고민해결해드립니다~

글지우기 비번 00990011


But whats the difference between the Beluga ship and a sailing ship? May be the its about the torque?


Let's hope there are no planes that caught up in the kite or it's tether to the ship.


gCaptain did an excellent post on this technology... very cool!

saulo gaviria

please, I would like to know about more pictures, photos and videos about projects of the component of sky in ship



Don Reed

How do these sailing-ships do on various points of sail? It would be interesting to see one tack upwind...


화상♬채팅이 아닙니다 !! 1:1 실제 만남 주선입니다.

섹* 파트너 화상채팅으로 원하는 스탈 찾을때까지...

5년간의 성실한 운영으로 전국 50만 회원이 실시간 접속...

원하시는 코스 선택 가능~ 2:1 만남 ok!

24시간 풀 ㄱ ㅏ 동...


Download everything you are looking for from

The comments to this entry are closed.