according to this article, someone has finally figured out that if you attach a giant kite to a giant ship, you save on fuel. heaven forbid someone in the long haul shipping industry ever run across a kite-boarder or a sail boat… wind, totally mystifying, right?
let’s look at the numbers. apparently, freight accounts for 25% of the US’s transport emissions, which is 8% of the country’s total emissions, and one kite on one ship could decrease fuel consumption up to 35%. Do the math (?) and that amounts to, and i quote:
A United Nations (International Maritime Organisation) study found that up to 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide could be saved every year by the broad application of SkySails’ technology on the world merchant fleet, SkySail said.
Neat! 100 million tonnes of carbon. that’s a lot, right?
well, if i may draw your attention back to the carbon footprint graphic, you will see that the US, as a nation, ranks #2 in (worst) carbon emissions in the world! that makes 8% a not-so-very insignificant number… in fact that 8% is 2025 million metric tonnes (according to here), so a decrease of 100 million would, voila, be about a 5% reduction in all transportation emissions, or 0.4% in total emissions, based on the 2007 numbers. impossible?! (… well maybe, someone want to check the units on that one?)
Oh, and fyi, other ways to decrease fuel consumption on a ship … go slower, among other things…
so, back to the kite, SkySails. did i mention that it’s run by a computer which controls the flight path. pretty. fancy. kite.