A huge cargo ship is set to cross the Atlantic Ocean this month with some help from a massive kite-like sail that could offset up to 15 percent of its fuel use on the journey. It’s hardly a return to purely wind-powered shipping, but it’s a start for the hugely polluting maritime shipping industry. “This is a serious attempt to reduce bunker [fuel] costs and polluting emissions,” said a spokesperson for the Germany-based shipping company that is testing the roughly 1,700-square-foot sail. “The kite will be used whenever it is possible on the voyage, and we are convinced it will revolutionize cargo shipping. We would consider fitting them to all our ships.” If testing goes well, much larger kites of over 50,000 square feet could soon offset a much larger share of fuel costs in the future.
Get Grist in Your Inbox
Amory Lovins’ high-tech home skimps on energy but not on comfort
This little fox loves transit. Should we tell him he just missed his stop?
Plants are poison — and that just may be why they keep us healthy
Millions alive today would have to die before the paleo diet could take over
Meet the Andy Griffith who’s going after fracking polluters