Cargill transports more than 185 million tons of agricultural and other commodities by ship each year, and in 2012 plans to pilot technology that could reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in ocean-going vessels by using wind power. SkySails GmbH & Co. KG, Hamburg, Germany, manufactures kites that can reduce fuel by up to 35 percent in ideal sailing conditions. SkySail will install its largest kite (3,444 square feet) on a vessel under long-term charter for Cargill that carries between 25,000 and 30,000 deadweight tons.
The SkySail consists of three components: a towing kite and rope that resemble a paraglider, a launch and recovery system and an automatic control system. The kite is high-strength, weatherproof textile, double-walled and fitted with a towing line tree made of rope with Dyneema® fiber developed specifically for SkySails by Gleistein Ropes, Bremen, Germany. The automated control system adjusts the rope tree to configure the kite’s profile to best capture the wind.