- Whole neighborhoods razed by Oklahoma tornado that killed 24 |
- Analysis: Some Republicans see new scandal in Sebelius fundraising
- Convicted U.S. killer Arias would join tiny death row group
- Drop in U.S. underground water levels has accelerated -USGS
- Israel fires back at Syria after gunshots at its troops
German fishing boat flies giant kite to save fuel
IJMUIDEN, Netherlands |
IJMUIDEN, Netherlands (Reuters) - Germany's largest fishing vessel will leave the Netherlands this week, towed by a giant kite harnessing trade winds for South America that will help cut its fuel consumption by up to a third.
The 15,000 tonne 'Maartje Theadora' is the first fishing vessel to use the system, in which a 160 square meter blue and white kite similar to a paraglider pulls the ship on a 300 meter rope, assisting its main engine.
"The challenge for us is to see how it works during trawling, because then the ship is not moving from A to B but it's turning and moving around," said Diederik Parlevliet, head of fishing firm Parlevliet & Van der Plas, operator of the ship.
It harks back to an earlier maritime age, when merchant ships -- especially from the Netherlands -- sailed the seas to Asia and the Americas. Modern steam power replaced sails, cutting travel times and making it more predictable.
Parlevliet said the SkySails system was expected to cut Maartje Theadora's fuel consumption by about 10 percent in the first phase of the pilot project, supported by about 780,000 euros of funding from the European Union and Germany.
Some cargo ships already use the kite system, in development since 2005, but it could be particularly well suited for fishing trawlers, which travel slowly during fishing operations.
Over the next two years of development, Parlevliet said fuel savings through the system, which would also cut greenhouse gas emissions, were projected to increase to up to 30 percent.
The kite, which can be used at wind speeds from 18 knots, can add 1,000 kilowatts (kW) of power to the ship's 8,000 kW engine. SkySails hopes to eventually double the system's power.
Global fisheries account for about 1 percent of world oil consumption, and emit more than 130 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, according to marine environment protection group Seas At Risk.
(Reporting by Catherine Hornby; Editing by Charles Dick)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this