Inspired by the most traditional of water-travel methods, SkySails aims to get cargo ships using wind power once again. With oil prices rising considerably, and industry increasingly interested in searching out cheaper alternatives, SkySails’ ‘wind propulsion system’ claims to be attracting a considerable amount of interest and it’s no great surprise why.

Essentially the system is two giant kites that act as sails that are connected through a towing rope rather than on a mast directly attached to the ship, plus a wind-optimised routeing system to get the best puff possible. According to the company, using the system average annual fuel costs can be lowered between 10-35% depending on the wind conditions, and up to 50% under optimal wind conditions. They estimate that at the current price of oil that could equate to a saving of 1/3 of a ship’s diesel costs. This has yet to be proved, though the company aims to do just that through it’s first commercial pilot, which launched on Tuesday.

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