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US Navy uses kite-powered cargo ship to deliver equipment

US Navy uses kite-powered cargo ship to deliver equipment

SkySail Systems Chartered On US MV Beluga To Save Fuel Costs By 20 Percent

The US Navy has chartered a new breed of Cargo ship that utilizes wind power along with conventional internal combustion engines. The new technology could potentially reduce fuel costs by 20-30%, roughly $1,600 per ship.

The new “Kite Assisted” MV Beluga has already been deployed by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) to deliver Air Force and Army cargo from Europe to the US.

MV Beluga Skysail System

The MV Beluga uses a paraglider-shaped Skysails System which supplements the ships engine. The sail is computer controlled, soars 100-300 yards into the air and is connected to the ship by a tear proof synthetic rope. Only once the ship has reached the three-mile zone and traffic separation areas is the Sky Sail System deployed.

The sail is operated by the crew from the bridges workstation. Steering and flight path adjustments are automatic; however the crew can take control of the sail with the push of a button when emergency actions are called for.

Skysail System Components

Unlike conventional sails, the kite has no structures that can get in the way of loading and unloading. The kite folds up and can be stored in a container the size of telephone booth. According to developer, SkySails GmbH & Co. KG of Hamburg, Germany, the SkySail can “generate two to three times more power per square meter sail area than conventional sails,”

Though wind power was not a factor in awarding the contract, the shipping company wanted to “capitalize on fuel savings to make its offer more competitive.” Captain Nick Holman, of Sealift Logistics Command Europe said,

“The MSC values innovation that leads to cost savings,”


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