Cargill Cuts CO2 Emissions with World's Largest Kite-Powered Ship

Cargill plans to use the world's largest kite-powered vessel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the shipping its products.

The company has partnered with SkySails GmbH & Co. KG (SkySails) out of Hamburg, Germany, to install a 320 square meter kite on one of its long-term chartered ships. The computer-controlled kite is designed to fly ahead of the vessel, using the wind to propel the ship forward while reducing fuel consumption by as much as 35 percent in ideal weather.  Kite-powered ship

"For some time, we have been searching for a project that can help drive environmental best practice within the shipping industry and see this as a meaningful first step," G.J. van den Akker, head of Cargill's ocean transportation business, said in a statement Monday. "The shipping industry currently supports 90 percent of the world's international physical trade."

The kites flies at a height of up to 420 meters, steered by an automatic control system that adjusts its fleight path. The ship, with a load of up to 30 tonnes, will be ready for operation with the kite in early 2012.

Kites are one of several energy-saving technologies identified by the Carbon War Room for the shipping industry. The kites have been installed on vessels ranging from fishing trawlers to cargo ships, saving fuel consumption and costs by between 10 percent and 35 percent, SkySails said.

Shipping-related emissions exceed one million metric tons annually, according to the Carbon War Room, which predicts shipping emissions will grow to about 18 percent of global emissions by 2050.