Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Cargill to hoist its sails in 2012
Cargill is taking to the wind to power its waterborne cargo.
The food and agricultural giant announced earlier this year it had signed an agreement with SkySails GmbH & Co. KG to use wind power technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry.
Hamburg-based SkySails has developed a patented technology that uses a kite, which flies ahead of the vessel and reportedly generates enough propulsion to reduce consumption of bunker fuel by up to 35 percent in ideal sailing conditions.
By the first quarter of 2012 December Cargill said a handysize vessel that the company has on long-term charter, fitted with a 320m2 kite, will be operational for a shipowner that has expressed interest in deploying the green technology.
The SkySails kite will be connected to the ship by rope and controlled by an automatic pod to maximize the wind benefits, according to the manufacturer.
The kite reportedly functions at a height of between 100 to 420 meters and flies in a figure-eight formation. An automatic control system steers the kite and adjusts its flight path. The system's operation is displayed on a SkySails' workstation monitor in the ship's bridge.
"For some time, we have been searching for a project that can help drive environmental best practice within the shipping industry and [we] see this as a meaningful first step," said G.J. van den Akker, director of Cargill's ocean transportation business.
"As one of the world's largest charterers of dry bulk freight, we take this commitment extremely seriously. In addition to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the SkySails technology aims to significantly reduce fuel consumption and costs. We are very impressed with the technology and see its installation on one of our chartered ships as the first part of an ongoing, long-term partnership," van den Akker said.
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