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Posted: 10/16/2008 2:45:26 PM EDT
Wind power helps cargo ship save fuel

By Philip Ewing - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Oct 16, 2008 16:07:01 EDT
 
Diesel engines, gas turbines and nuclear reactors have propelled U.S. ships around the world for decades. They were joined Saturday by an unlikely power source — a kite.

The cargo ship Beluga SkySails, under charter from the Military Sealift Command, sailed from Newport, Wales, in the United Kingdom, partially powered by a “sky sail,” a giant kite that uses the wind to help pull the 400-foot container ship. The Beluga is the first ship using the novel sail technology to operate under a charter from MSC.

Video
See the system in action www.youtube.com/watch?v=9x6M9r15FBE

The ship has traditional diesel engines, but its computer-controlled sky sail lessens their work and reduces fuel costs by up to 30 percent, or about $1,600 per day, according to a Navy spokeswoman. The sail flies about 600 feet above the ship, where winds are steadier and more powerful than on the surface. It can deploy and retract in about 20 minutes.

The kite itself wasn’t a factor in the decision to award the charter for this cruise, said MSC spokeswoman Laura Seal, but the savings in fuel costs may have contributed to the Beluga’s winning bid.

“MSC values innovation that leads to cost savings,” said Navy Capt. Nick Holman, commander of Sealift Logistics Command Europe, MSC’s area command for Europe and Africa. “We are proud to be collaborating with innovators in the commercial maritime world to provide our customers with efficient and quality service.”

The Beluga is set to make three European stops to pick up a total of 211 Army and Air Force cargo containers and transport them to the U.S., according to MSC documents.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 2:49:22 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 2:50:20 PM EDT
I can see this going well for low flying aircraft.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 2:50:55 PM EDT
Interesting.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 2:52:12 PM EDT
Why would someone be flying at 500ft above sea level in the middle of the Atlantic, directly over a cargo ship?
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 2:53:55 PM EDT
So how does it get up there? Who is the poor sap running down the deck trying to get it aloft?

Link Posted: 10/16/2008 2:54:51 PM EDT
Why don't we just go back to good old 3 mast sailing ships and be done with it.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 2:58:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Frank_The_Tank:
Why don't we just go back to good old 3 mast sailing ships and be done with it.


I would say a giant 7-masted Schooner, but paying the crew required to run such a ship would probably cost more than fuel.

Maybe we should bring back the time honored tradition of shanghaiing people?
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 2:59:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By brdvictim:
I can see this going well for low flying aircraft.


sew Mylar strips into and put a couple strobes on it.  GTG.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 3:08:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Frank_The_Tank:
Why don't we just go back to good old 3 mast sailing ships and be done with it.


They were trying that out for major cargo ships a few years ago. It sounds like the masts got in the way and impacted cargo capacity more than it was worth.

This sky sail avoids lots of the overhead.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 3:15:18 PM EDT
Cool
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 3:20:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By fxntime:
So how does it get up there? Who is the poor sap running down the deck trying to get it aloft?



I would assume they fire it out of a cannon, but I could be wrong.

Link Posted: 10/16/2008 3:22:29 PM EDT
FANCY NEW FUTURISTIC WIND POWERED BOATS.....


ZOMG


it's called a fucking sailboat.

Link Posted: 10/16/2008 3:29:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lord_Grey_Boots:

Originally Posted By Frank_The_Tank:
Why don't we just go back to good old 3 mast sailing ships and be done with it.


They were trying that out for major cargo ships a few years ago. It sounds like the masts got in the way and impacted cargo capacity more than it was worth.

This sky sail avoids lots of the overhead.


My uncle was on a sailing Merchant Marine ship through WWII so it wasn't all that long ago that they were in use.

I do see how loading and unloading with cranes could be a problem with all the rigging in the way.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 3:31:33 PM EDT
Might have issues going upwind
Thunderstorms
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 3:33:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By us-kiwi:
Might have issues going upwind
Thunderstorms


They probably just reel in the sail when approaching major storms.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 3:35:33 PM EDT
Ben Franklin approves this sail

Cant wait for the first moron to tie himself to it to go para sailing
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 3:37:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lord_Grey_Boots:

Originally Posted By us-kiwi:
Might have issues going upwind
Thunderstorms


They probably just reel in the sail when approaching major storms.


I don't think some people understand this is just supplemental power.

It still uses the engines, it just uses the sail to take some of the work load off.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 3:40:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lord_Grey_Boots:

Originally Posted By us-kiwi:
Might have issues going upwind
Thunderstorms


They probably just reel in the sail when approaching major storms.


Yep, and when going up wind.  It's there to supplement when the conditions allow and help save fuel.  Make sense to me, surprised it's taken this long to be utilized.  Don't have a source, but I recall hearing that shipping in this world is responsible for more exhaust pollution than all auto traffic combined.  Any reductions will help!
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 3:55:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lord_Grey_Boots:
Why would someone be flying at 500ft above sea level in the middle of the Atlantic, directly over a cargo ship?
Two words, Radar avoidance.  
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 4:29:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lord_Grey_Boots:
This sky sail avoids lots of the overhead.


I see what you did there.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 4:31:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By out-a-ammo:

Originally Posted By fxntime:
So how does it get up there? Who is the poor sap running down the deck trying to get it aloft?



I would assume they fire it out of a cannon, but I could be wrong.



Sails?  Cannons?   YAAAARRR!!!!!!
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 4:36:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lord_Grey_Boots:
Why would someone be flying at 500ft above sea level in the middle of the Atlantic, directly over a cargo ship?


You really want to know?
Matt
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 4:39:46 PM EDT
This has been around for about 5-7 years, as I recall.

Interesting idea.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 4:40:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By hourglassing:

Originally Posted By out-a-ammo:

Originally Posted By fxntime:
So how does it get up there? Who is the poor sap running down the deck trying to get it aloft?



I would assume they fire it out of a cannon, but I could be wrong.



Sails?  Cannons?   YAAAARRR!!!!!!


Any russian tanks on that ship?
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 4:52:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By glock27bill:
This has been around for about 5-7 years, as I recall.

Interesting idea.



5-7 years?  LOL
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 4:59:57 PM EDT
Beauty in simplicity.
Link Posted: 10/16/2008 5:02:16 PM EDT
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbosail

Pretty amazing that it was launched in 1985. As noted in the article, efficiency was never documented.


Link Posted: 10/16/2008 5:03:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By patchouli:

Originally Posted By glock27bill:
This has been around for about 5-7 years, as I recall.

Interesting idea.



5-7 years?  LOL


Link Posted: 10/16/2008 6:02:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lord_Grey_Boots:
Why would someone be flying at 500ft above sea level in the middle of the Atlantic, directly over a cargo ship?


shhh, he thought he was on a roll.
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