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Football Field-Sized Kite Powers Latest Freighter

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the sailing-with-wind-power-and-other-novel-ideas dept.

Power 251

coondoggie writes to tell us that a new freighter set to launch in December will be receiving a hefty dose of power from a kite the size of a football field. The 460-foot ship, owned by the Beluga shipping company, hopes to see as much as a 50% drop in fuel consumption during optimal conditions. "The SkySails system consists of a towing kite with rope, a launch and recovery system and a control system for the whole operation. The control system acts like the autopitot systems on an aircraft, the company says. Autopilot software sends and receives data about the sail etc to make sure the sail is set at its optimal position. The company also says it provides an optional weather routing system so that ships can sail into optimal wind conditions.The kites typically fly at about 1,000 feet above sea level, thereby tapping winds that can be almost 50% stronger than at the surface. "

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This could be tragic. (4, Funny)

lstellar (1047264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484217)

I feel sorry for all those wayward seagulls.

I don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484441)

If you've ever seen how those things can indescriminately restripe a parking lot with their crap, perhaps you'd feel differently.

The first person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484227)

to mention "Peanuts" is going to get a knock on the door in the middle of the night

Re:The first person (0, Redundant)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484481)

I'm allergic, you insensitive clod!

Re:The first person (1)

Ristol (745640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484931)

Bad news AC...

Reinventing the wheel, and getting $$$ for it (5, Funny)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484229)

????B.C. - Random Dude "You know this wind would be pretty cool if it were used to run a ship"
*Investors throw money at random dude*

1769 - James Watt "You know this steam engine thing would be pretty cool if it were used to run a ship"
*Investors throw money at Watt*

1896 - Karl Benz "You know this gas powered combustion engine thing would be pretty cool if it were used to run a ship"
*Investors throw monoey at Benz*

2007 - SkySails "You know this wind thing would be pretty cool if it were used to run a ship"
*Beluga corp. throws money at SkySails*

Seems to me that SkySails is a few millenia back on their innovation.

Re:Reinventing the wheel, and getting $$$ for it (5, Informative)

CIANCHAMBLISS (955013) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484397)

The difference between conventional sails and the kite (from the article) - the wind 1000 feet up is going to be stronger than the wind at the surface. Also, with this technology, it looks like it is easier to retrofit the existing fleet of ships with a sail than to add a conventional sail.

Re:Reinventing the wheel, and getting $$$ for it (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484673)

Also, the lever arm is shorter. A conventional mast needs to be very tall to get the most sail area, which is a lever from the water line to the top of the mast. This means that the wind is producing more torque on the ship, causing it to tilt ("heel") from the wind. Since the kite attaches directly to the deck, its lever arm is only from the water line to the deck. Heeling makes a sail less efficient, but has no effect on the kite.

Furthermore, the kite has upward lift, which helps pull the bow out of the water. This makes it feel less of the effects of waves, smoothing out the ride a bit.

The biggest difference, though, is that it can be used in high winds, everything from 10-40mph. A traditional sailboat cannot sail in such high winds.

dom

Re:Reinventing the wheel, and getting $$$ for it (3, Informative)

wanerious (712877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484957)

d00d, that's just when it starts to get fun.

This is essentially a giant spinnaker. The main disadvantage is that it is really only good for downwind propulsion, whereas a conventional sail can make some progress upwind at an angle.

Re:Reinventing the wheel, and getting $$$ for it (3, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485173)

Furthermore, the kite has upward lift, which helps pull the bow out of the water. This makes it feel less of the effects of waves, smoothing out the ride a bit.

Unless they put a lot of [heavy] steel stiffening in, the ship will flex at the attachment point rather than lift the bow. Ships aren't rigid.
 
On top of which, even if the kite were attached at the eyes - you don't want upward force. Upward force doesn't contribute as much to propulsion as lateral force.

Re:Reinventing the wheel, and getting $$$ for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484635)

That's the way technology works - sometimes, with progress, updating old solutions provides better performance, lower cost, etc than using a new method. Some of the new exotic solid-state designs are similar in concept to how storage worked in the 70s.

Getting $$$ for vaporware (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484863)

If you look at the pictures on the site it sure does not look like a football field sized parasail. And the recovery system is proportionally small too.

I don't know how atmospheric winds work but I assume they mostly blow in one direction. How high against downwind can a kite be made to fly. I assume these wing kites can sail a bit off directly down wind but unless they can fly more than 90 degrees off downwind like a sailboat then it's hard to see how this helps for the return journey.

Thus this 50% efficiency figure seems to me to only apply to one direction of travel. Overall, if one uses the same amount of energy in both direction then that's only a 25% savings. Not bad perhaps. But then do these winds exist at all lattitudes (e.g. through the newly opening northwest passage)?

Perhaps this may encourage deadheading ships empty on the return journey to keep down fuel costs on the unassisted leg. It would be an unanticpated consequence if this increased imbalance of trade between upwind and downwind countries.

The wind direction varies according to lat./long (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485063)

The winds DO have prevelant directions, but those vary depending on where you are in the world. Some of the winds will go from east to west and others will go from west to east. As to how close you can get to the wind depends on a number of factors. Our c-scow could go about 5 degrees off the wind without a luft but only with 1 of our sails, the 2 other sails would allow about 10 degrees.But trying to make it go INTO the wind? No. The important thing was to have a DEEP center/side board, so that beats and reaches were forward motion.

Re:Reinventing the wheel, and getting $$$ for it (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484955)

I read a book on kites several years back and kites to pull carriages aren't exactly a new thing. One in England moved a carriage along at a pretty fast clip, IIRC. Major problems were it working one way, any obstruction for the kite (bridge in water, tree on land) and the way roads and water ways go. This is probably best for open sea.

Re:Reinventing the wheel, and getting $$$ for it (1)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484971)

I find it kind of sad that this was modded funny.. had I gotten here first, I think I would have used "Insightful".

Aikon-

High tech old tech (1)

module0000 (882745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484233)

Enough said.

Thunder and Lightning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484235)

...I think Benjamin Franklin just crapped himself.

Re:Thunder and Lightning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484345)

Not if the load lines attached to the ship were non-conductive and a thin ground wire was hung down into or just above the water under the kite. This would prevent lighting strikes from hitting the ship. Geometry would place the wire at a good distance away from the ship even with drag on the wire.

ike taught me all about it! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484239)

When I think of dirty old men, I think of Ike Thomas and when I think about Ike I get a hard-on that won't quit.

Sixty years ago, I worked in what was once my grandfather's greenhouses. Gramps had died a year earlier and Grandma, now in her seventies had been forced to sell to the competition. I got a job with the new owners and mostly worked the range by myself. That summer, they hired a man to help me get the benches ready for the fall planting.

Ike always looked like he was three days from a shave and his whiskers were dirty white, shaded by the brim of his battered felt fedora.

He did not chew tobacco but the corners of his mouth turned down in a way that, at any moment, I expected a trickle of thin, brown juice to creep down his chin. His bushy, brown eyebrows shaded pale, gray eyes.

The old-timer extended his hand, lifted his leg like a dog about to mark a bush and let go the loudest fart I ever heard. The old fellow then winked at me, "Ike Thomas is the name and playing pecker's my game."

I thought he said, "Checkers." I was nineteen, green as grass. I said, "I was never much good at that game."

"Now me," said Ike, "I just love jumping men ..."

"I'll bet you do."

"... and grabbing on to their peckers," said Ike.

"I thought we were talking about ..."

"You like jumping old men's peckers?"

I shook my head.

"I reckon we'll have to remedy that." Ike lifted his right leg and let go another tremendous fart. "He said, "We best be getting to work."

That summer of 1941 was a more innocent time. I learned most of the sex I knew from those little eight pager cartoon booklets of comic-page characters going at it. Young men read them in the privacy of an outside john, played with themselves, by themselves and didn't brag about it. Sometimes, we got off with a trusted friend and helped each other out.

Under the greenhouse glass, the temperature some times climbed over the hundred degree mark. I had worked stripped to the waist since April and was as brown as a berry. On only his second day on the job and in the middle of August, Ike wore old fashioned overalls. Those and socks in his high-top work shoes was every stitch he wore. When he bent forward, the bib front billowed out and I could see the white curly hairs on his chest and belly.

"Me? I just love to eat pussy!" Ike licked his lips from corner to corner then sticking his tongue out far enough that the tip could touch the end of his nose. He said, A man's not a man till he knows first hand, the flavor of a lady's pussy."

"People do that?"

He winked. "Of course the taste of a hard cock ain't to be sneezed at neither. Now you answer me, yes or no. Does a man's cock taste salty or not?"

"I never ..."

"Well, old Ike's willing to let you find out."

"No way."

"Just teasing," said Ike. "But don't give me no sass or I'll show you my ass." He winked. "Might show it to you anyway, if you was to ask."

"Why would I do that?"

"Curiosity, maybe. I'm guessing you never had a good piece of man ass."

"I'm no queer."

"Now don't be getting judgmental. Enjoying what's at hand ain't being queer. It's taking pleasure where you find it with anybody willing." Ike slipped a hand into the side slit of his overalls and I could tell he was fondling and straightening out his cock. "Now I admit I got me a hole that satisfied a few guys."

I swallowed, hard.

Ike winked. "Care to be asshole buddies?"

We worked steadily until noon. Ike drew a worn pocket watch from the bib pocket of his loose overalls and croaked, "Bean time. But first its time to reel out our limber hoses and make with the golden arches before lunch."

I followed Ike to the end of the greenhouse where he stopped at the outside wall of the potting shed. He opened his fly, fished inside, and finger-hooked a soft white penis with a pouting foreskin puckered half an inch past the hidden head.

"Yes sir," breathed Ike, "this old peter needs some draining." He exhaled a sigh as a strong, yellow stream splattered against the boards and ran down to soak into the earthen floor.

He caught me looking down at him. He winked. "Like what you're viewing, Boy?"

I looked away.

"You taking a serious interest in old Ike's pecker?"

I shook my head.

"Well you just haul out yourn and let old Ike return the compliment."

Feeling trapped and really having to go, I fumbled at my fly, turned away slightly, withdrew my penis and strained to start.

"Take your time boy. Let it all hang out. Old Ike's the first to admit that he likes looking at another man's pecker." He flicked away the last drop of urine and shook his limp penis vigorously.

I tried not to look interested.

"Yes sir, this old peepee feels so good out, I just might leave it out." He turned to give me a better view.

"What if somebody walks in?"

Ike shrugged. He looked at my strong yellow stream beating against the boards and moved a step closer. "You got a nice one,boy."

I glanced over at him. His cock was definitely larger and beginning to stick straight out. I nodded toward his crotch. "Don't you think you should put that away?"

"I got me strictly a parlor prick," said Ike. "Barely measures six inches." He grinned. "Of course it's big enough around to make a mouthful." He ran a thumb and forefinger along its length and drawing his foreskin back enough to expose the tip of the pink head. "Yersiree." He grinned, revealing nicotine stained teeth. "It sure feels good, letting the old boy breathe."

I knew I should button up and move away. I watched his fingers moving up and down the thickening column.

"You like checking out this old man's cock?"

I nodded. In spite of myself, my cock began to swell.

"Maybe we should have ourselves a little pecker pulling party." Ike slid his fingers back and forth on his expanding shaft and winked. "I may be old but I'm not against doing some little pud pulling with a friend."

I shook my head.

"Maybe I'll give my balls some air. Would you like a viewing of old Ike's hairy balls?"

I swallowed hard and moistened my dry lips.

He opened another button on his fly and pulled out his scrotum. "Good God, It feels good to set 'em free. Now let's see yours."

"Why?"

"Just to show you're neighborly," said Ike.

"I don't think so." I buttoned up and moved into the potting shed.

Ike followed, his cock and balls protruding from the front of his overalls. "Overlook my informality." Ike grinned. "As you can see I ain't bashful."

I nodded and took my sandwich from the brown paper bag.

"Yessir," said Ike. "I just might have to have myself an old fashioned peter pulling all by my lonesome. He unhooked a shoulder strap and let his overalls drop around his ankles.

I took a bite of my sandwich but my eyes remained on Ike.

"Yessiree," said Ike, "I got a good one if I do say so myself. Gets nearly as hard as when I was eighteen. You know why?"

I shook my head.

"Cause I keep exercising him. When I was younger I was pulling on it three time a day. Still like to do him every day I can."

"Some say you'll go blind if you do that too much."

"Bull-loney!" Don't you believe that shit. I been pulling my pud for close to fifty years and I didn't start till I was fifteen."

I laughed.

"You laughing at my little peter, boy?"

"Your hat." I pointed to the soiled, brown fedora cocked on his head. That and his overalls draped about his ankles were his only items of apparel. In between was a chest full of gray curly hair, two hairy legs. Smack between them stood an erect, pale white cock with a tip of foreskin still hiding the head.

"I am one hairy S.O.B.," said Ike.

"I laughed at you wearing nothing but a hat."

"Covers up my bald spot," said Ike. "I got more hair on my ass than I got on my head. Want to see?"

"Your head?"

"No, Boy, my hairy ass and around my tight, brown asshole." He turned, reached back with both hands and parted his ass cheeks to reveal the small, puckered opening. "There it is, Boy, the entrance lots of good feelings. Tell me, Boy, how would you like to put it up old Ike's ass?"

"I don't think so."

"That'd be the best damned piece you ever got."

"We shouldn't be talking like this."

"C'mon now, confess, don't this make your cock perk up a little bit?"

"I reckon," I confessed.

"You ever seen an old man's hard cock before," asked Ike.

"My grandpa's when I was twelve or thirteen."

"How'd that come about?"

He was out in the barn and didn't know I was around. He dropped his pants. It was real big he did things to it. He saw me and he turned around real fast but I saw it."

"What did your grandpa do?"

"He said I shouldn't be watching him doing that. He said something like grandma wouldn't give him some,' that morning and that I should get out of there and leave a poor man in peace to do what he had to do."

"Did you want to join him."

"I might have if he'd asked. He didn't."

"I like showing off my cock," said Ike. "A hard-on is something I always been proud of. A hard-on proves a man's a man. Makes me feel like a man that can do things." He looked up at me and winked. "You getting a hard-on from all this talk, son?"

I nodded and looked away.

"Then maybe you should pull it out and show old Ike what you got."

"We shouldn't."

"Hey. A man's not a man till he jacked off with a buddy."

I wanted to but I was as nervous as hell.

Ike grinned and fingered his pecker. "C'mon, Boy, between friends, a little cock showing is perfectly fine. Lets see what you got in the cock and balls department."

In spite of my reluctance, I felt the stirring in my crotch. I had curiosity that needed satisfying. It had been a long, long time since I had walked in on my grandfather.

"C'mon let's see it all."

I shook my head.

"You can join the party anytime, said Ike. "Just drop your pants and pump away."

I had the urge. There was a tingling in my crotch. My cock was definitely willing and I had a terrible need to adjust myself down there. But my timidity and the strangeness of it all held me back.

Hope you don't mind if I play out this hand." Ike grinned. "It feels like I got a winner."

I stared at his gnarled hand sliding up and down that pale, white column and I could not look away. I wet my lips and shook my head.

Old Ike's about to spout a geyser." Ike breathed harder as he winked. "Now if I just had a long finger up my ass. You interested, boy?"

I shook my head.

The first, translucent, white glob crested the top of his cock and and arced to the dirt floor. Ike held his cock at the base with thumb and forefinger and tightened noticeably with each throb of ejaculation until he was finished.

I could not believe any man could do what he had done in front of another human being.

Ike sighed with pleasure and licked his fingers. "A man ain't a man till he's tasted his own juices."

He squatted, turned on the faucet and picked up the connected hose. He directed the water between his legs and on to his still dripping prick and milked the few remaining drops of white, sticky stuff into the puddle forming at his feet. "Cool water sure feels good on a cock that just shot its wad," said Ike.

"Cock-tale telling time," said Old Ike. It was the next day and he rubbed the front of his dirty,worn overalls where his bulge made the fly expand as his fingers smoothed the denim around the outline of his expanding cock.

I wasn't sure what he had in mind but I knew it wasn't something my straight-laced Grandma would approve of.

"Don't you like taking your cock out and jacking it?" Ike licked his lips.

I shook my head in denial.

"Sure you do. A young man in his prime has got to be pulling his pud."

I stared at his calloused hand moving over the growing bulge at his crotch.

"Like I said," continued Ike, "I got me barely six inches when he's standing up." He winked at me. "How much you got, son?"

"Almost seven inches ..." I stuttered. "Last time I measured."

"And I'm betting it feels real good with your fist wrapped around it."

"I don't do ..."

"Everybody does it." He scratched his balls and said, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours." Then, looking me in the eye, he lifted his leg like a dog at a tree and let out a long, noisy fart.

Denying that I jacked off, I said, "I saw yours yesterday."

"A man has got to take out his pecker every once in a while." He winked and his fingers played with a button on his fly. Care to join me today?"

"I don't think so."

"What's the matter, boy? You ashamed of what's hanging 'tween your skinny legs?"

"It's not for showing off."

"That would be so with a crowd of strangers but with a friend, in a friendly showdown, where's the harm?"

"It shouldn't be shown to other people. My Grandma said that a long time ago when I went to the bathroom against a tree when I was seven."

"There's nothing like a joint pulling among friends to seal a friendship," said Ike.

I don't think so." I felt very much, ill at ease.

"Then what the fuck is it for," demanded the old man. "A good man shares his cock with his friends. How old are you boy?"

"Fifteen almost sixteen."

You ever fucked a woman?"

"No."

"Ever fucked a man?"

"Of course not."

"Son, you ain't never lived till you've fired your load up a man's tight ass."

"I didn't know men did that to each other."

"Men shove it up men's asses men all the time. They just don't talk about it like they do pussy."

"You've done that?"

"I admit this old pecker's been up a few manholes. More than a few hard cocks have shagged this old ass over the years." He shook his head, wistfully, "I still have a hankering for a hard one up the old dirt chute."

"I think that would hurt."

"First time, it usually does," agreed Ike. He took a bite from his sandwich.

I looked at my watch. Ten minutes of our lunch hour had already passed.

"We got time for a quickie," said Ike. "There's no one around to say, stop, if were enjoying ourselves."

He unhooked the slide off the button of one shoulder-strap, pushed the bib of his overalls down to let them fall to his feet.

"Showtime," said Ike. Between his legs, white and hairy, his semi-hard cock emerged from a tangled mass of brown and gray pubic hair. The foreskin, still puckered beyond the head of the cock, extended downward forty-five degrees from the horizontal but was definitely on the rise.

I could only stare at the man. Until the day before, I had never seen an older man with an erection besides my grandpa.

Ike moved his fingers along the stalk of his manhood until the head partially emerged, purplish and broad. He removed his hand for a moment and it bobbled obscenely in the subdued light of the potting shed. Ike leaned back against a bin of clay pots like a model on display. "Like I said, boy, it gets the job done."

I found it difficult not to watch. "You shouldn't ..."

"C'mon, boy. Show Ike your pecker. I'm betting it's nice and hard."

I grasped my belt and tugged on the open end. I slipped the waistband button and two more before pushing down my blue jeans and shorts down in one move. My cock bounced and slapped my belly as I straightened."

"That's a beaut." Ike stroked his pale, white cock with the purplish-pink head shining. "I'm betting it'll grow some more if you stroke it."

"We really shouldn't ..."

"Now don't tell me you never stroked your hard peter with a buddy."

"I've done that," I finally admitted,. "But he was the same age as me and it was a long time ago." I though back to the last time Chuck and me jerked each other off in the loft of our old barn. Chuck wanted more as a going away present and we had sucked each other's dicks a little bit.

"Jackin's always better when you do it with somebody," said Ike. "Then you can lend each other a helping hand."

"I don't know about that," I said.

Ike's hand continued moving on his old cock as he leaned over to inspect mine. "God Damn! Boy. That cock looks good enough to eat." Ike licked his lips. "You ever had that baby sucked?"

I shook my head as I watched the old man stroke his hard, pale cock.

"Well boy, I'd say you're packing a real mouthful for some lucky gal or guy." He grinned. "Well c'mon. Let's see you get down to some serious jacking. Old Ike's way ahead of you."

I wrapped my fist around my stiff cock and moved the foreskin up and over the head on the up stroke. On the down stroke the expanded corona of the angry, purple head stared obscenely at the naked old man.

Ike toyed with his modest six inches. "What do you think of this old man's cock?" His fist rode down to his balls and a cockhead smaller than the barrel stared back at mine.

"I guess I'm thinking this is like doing it with my grandpa."

"You ever wish you could a done this with your grandpa?"

"I thought about it a lot."

"Ever see him with a hard-on."

"I told you about that!"

"Ever think about him doing your grandma?"

"I can't imagine her ever doing anything with a man."

"Take my word for it, sonny, we know she did it or you wouldn't be here." Begrudgingly I nodded in agreement.

"Everybody fucks," said old Ike. "They fuck or they jack off."

"If you say so."

"Say sonny, your cocks getting real juicy with slickum. Want old Ike tolick some of it away?"

"You wouldn't."

Ike licked his lips as he kept his hand pistoning up and down his hard cock. "You might be surprised what old Ike might do if he was in the mood for a taste of what comes out of a hard cock."

And that is what he proceeded to do. He sucked me dry.

Then he erupted in half-a-dozen spurts shooting out and onto the dirt floor of the potting shed. He gave his cock a flip and shucked t back into his overalls. He unwrapped a sandwich from its wax paper and proceed to eat without washing his hands. He took a bite and chewed. "Nothing like it boy, a good jacking clears the cobwebs from your crotch and gives a man an appetite."

The following day, We skipped the preliminaries. We dropped our pants. Ike got down on his knees and sucked me until I was hard and good and wet before he stood and turned.

"C'mon boy, Shove that pretty cock up old Ike's tight, brown hole and massage old Ike's prostate.

Ike bent forward and gripped the edge of the potting bench. The lean, white cheeked buttocks parted slightly and exposed the dark brown, crinkly, puckered star of his asshole. "Now you go slow and ease it along until you've got it all the way in," he cautioned. "This old ass craves your young cock but it don't want too much too soon. You've got to let this old hole stretch to accommodate you."

"Are you sure you want to do this?"

"Easy boy, easy," he cautioned. "You feel a lot bigger than you look. Put a little more spit in your cock."

"It's awfully tight. I don't know if it's going to go or not."

"It'll go," said Ike. "There's been bigger boys than you up the old shit chute."

I slipped in the the last few inches.. "It's all in."

"I can tell," said Ike. "Your cock hairs are tickling my ass."

"Are you ready," I asked.

"How are you liking old Ike's hairy asshole so far?"

"It's real tight."

"Tighter than your fist?"

"Might be."

"Ready to throw a fuck into a man that reminds you of your grandpa."

"I reckon."

"I want you should do old Ike one more favor."

"What?"

While you're pumpin' my ass, would you reach around and play with my dick like you would your own? Would you do that for an old man?"

I reached around and took hold of his hard cock sticking out straight in front of him. I pilled the skin back and then pulled it up and over the expanded glans. I felt my own cock expand inside him as I manipulated his staff in my fingers. I imagined that my cock extended through him and I was playing with what came out the other side of him.

"C'mon, boy, ram that big cock up the old shitter and make me know it. God Damn! tickle that old prostate and make old Ike come!"

I came. And I came. Ike's tightened up on my cock and I throbbed Roman Candle bursts into that brown hole as I pressed into him. His hairy, scrawny ass flattened against my crotch and we were joined as tightly as two humans can be.

"A man's not a man till he's come in another man." said old Ike. "You made it, boy. But still, a man's not a man till he's had a hard cock poked up his ass at least once."

Every time I think of that scene, I get another hard-on. Then I remember the next day when old Ike returned the favor.

I never have managed to come that hard again. If only Ike were here.

Optimum conditions (1, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484247)

happen maybe 1% of the time? What is more interesting is how the system performs over a whole year.

Still, good to see that people are trying different ideas.

30-50% is more like it (5, Interesting)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484379)

All they need is to have a moderately strong, steady wind that is abaft the beam. Plus good enough weather that they don't risk the kite and its hardware. If you sail the traditional sail-era trade routes the wind is abaft the beam quite a bit more than 50% of the time, the wind is steady at 1000' in the open ocean pretty much always as long as the weather is good, and you can supply your own finagle factor for how often the weather is good.

Frankly, I think the major limitation on any kind of sail power has been crew cost. Big freighters run with tiny crews these days, and often not very well trained and not especially reliable, except for the top few officers. Getting a crew that can handle a big sail competently, without endangering the cost of the apparatus, sounds expensive. But maybe they've got a robotic, computerized control system that can eliminate that problem.

Re:30-50% is more like it (2, Interesting)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484493)

They mention directing the ship into areas that provide better conditions. I wonder if this isn't a tradoff between energy efficiency and shipping time. If the ship re-routes from the optimal path in terms of distance to the one that's longer but provides better weather to reduce fuel, that seems to imply that time is a less important factor than cost. Of course in many cases in which you're shipping things by boat it's the case that time really is less important than cost, as if time was more important you'd be shipping by airplane anyway, but it's still interesting to consider the implications here. Maybe you can get a shipping discount on boats that take the most energy optimal path as opposed to those that take the distance optimal one.

not so much time as schedule, I think (2, Interesting)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484773)

I don't think it's so important how long it takes for a cargo to get somewhere so much as it's important that it get there when it's scheduled to do so, not earlier and not later. Modern manufacturing, to say nothing of port operations, rail schedules, et cetera, are pretty reliant on things being delivered at a certain hour on a certain day. If a boat happens to come in a day late or something, everything is flung out of synchrony -- you have to pay workers who are doing nothing, because the boat isn't there yet, and you have to hire other guys at overtime rates when the boat does come in, and meanwhile you've missed your rail connection and your factory has run out of raw materials or your showroom has run out of the popular new model of widget...

Re:30-50% is more like it (5, Informative)

sk8dork (842313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484603)

yeah, according to the skysails website, and shown in a live action promo video, the launch and retrieval of the sail is completely automated, as is the steering. a person should be able to operate the whole thing by pressing the launch button in the control room to start it, and press the retrieval button when done. i recommend watching the video, it was interesting and good to see in action.

Re:30-50% is more like it (2, Interesting)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484657)

I just watched their promo video at SkySails [skysails.info] . (The video is here [streamingfarm.tv] ). They can point as close as 50 degrees off the wind, so tacking is possible. In other words, if oil went up to $1000 a barrel they could theoretically sail either way across the Atlantic, albeit taking 2 or 3 times as long.

They show 30% fuel savings, but oil prices have gone up a lot recently, so it might well be closer to 50% now. It launches and recovers automatically and has an automatic control system.

Re:30-50% is more like it (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484819)

"hey show 30% fuel savings, but oil prices have gone up a lot recently, so it might well be closer to 50% now."

I'm not sure where you get the 50% from, because 30% fuel savings, say from 1000 gals to 700 gals will always be the same result. Now the 30% fuel savings can be leveraged by fuel cost savings, but that is also going to be only 30%, but the actual difference in absolute $ will increase, but that is not a percentage of anything.

So, 30% is 30% unless they can make bigger kites that can operate on higher wind speeds, then you might get your 50%.

Re:30-50% is more like it (1)

Steve Newall (24926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484933)

From the beluga-group web site http://www.beluga-group.com/News.345.0.html?&cHash=34703c1f65&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=338 [beluga-group.com] "With the new propulsion system the fuel costs can be reduced by 10 - 15percent".
So I don't know where the parent got the 50% savings figure from.

Re:30-50% is more like it (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484985)

Nice video. It shows how "football field-sized" in the article title was completely wrong. :) (They mentioned - and you can see - a 160 square meter sail which is about 1/20th of a football field)
They also mentioned it paying for itself in 3 to 5 years. They must be charging an insane amount of money for it to cost 10% to 30% of 3 to 5 years worth of fuel costs for a freighter. :) Then again, those percentages were only fuel savings while it is operating. So overall fuel savings would be a smaller percent.

Never thought it would see the light of day (1)

dj245 (732906) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484967)

I first heard about this when I was an undergrad studying naval architecture. Because of the poorly trained, tiny crews, many of whom don't even speak all the same language, my classmates and I never thought it would happen on a commercial ship. Clearly it has. Maybe it will even become common someday. Then again, it could be as unwieldy and difficult to manage as nuclear powered freigthers and oil tankers- examples of which you can pretty much count on one hand.

The main problem I see is the additional burden of a sail in an emergency. It almost surely has an emergency release (I would bet money on this), but dumping the sail to save the ship would probably be viewed by many captains as a career-ending move. Because of this some captains might be reluctant to dump the sail and an accident might result that otherwise may not have.

Re:Never thought it would see the light of day (1)

swb (14022) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485231)

How often do ocean going ships come close to having accidents on the open oceans?

I'm sure its probably more often than I would otherwise think given the ideal routes from high-traffic origins to high-traffic destinations, but you'd think they would have some kind of rules about operating it only XX miles from ports and have some kind of radar tie-in that would cause the kite to not deploy or undeploy should shipping traffic come within some danger zone.

Re:Optimum conditions (1)

suburbanmediocrity (810207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485021)

1% is 1%. Maybe not a big deal, but on something this scale it could mean a lot of money.

Most of the power? (1, Interesting)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484253)

So a kite that provides most of the ship's power can only afford a 50% reduction in fuel consumption? Hmmm...

Re:Most of the power? (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484413)

So a kite that provides most of the ship's power can only afford a 50% reduction in fuel consumption? Hmmm...

Would 51% make you happy?

Re:Most of the power? (1)

Thanatos69 (993924) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484595)

I hear there is such a boat that can garner 100% of it's power from wind. I think it's called a sailboat.

Yes, I do realize that sailboats are a lot lighter than cargo ships which is most likely the reason for only 50% of the power.

Re:Most of the power? (5, Informative)

littlerubberfeet (453565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484505)

Motive power is only the largest fraction of consumption on a ship. On all ships, auxiliary equipment must be powered. This ranges from the small consumers, such as navigation equipment and lighting, to the large consumers, such as reefer containers and engineering subsystems. A 10,000 TEU Maersk liner might have 250 reefer slots, and that sucks a lot of power, as does the bunker fuel heater (though usually steam, but still energy from the engine).

Then consider that engine efficiency doesn't scale linearly with fuel consumption, and that propellers on large ships are fixed, not constant speed. This means that a ship moving at 17 knots HAS to make, say, 83 RPMs (for a big Sulzer). So, the kite might provide 50% of motive power, but the ship will only be able to cut the fuel pumps 20%-25%, and can't cut RPMs at all, else the prop starts dragging and cavitating.

Re:Most of the power? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484661)

Plus you have to consider the power going to manage the kite....

Re:Most of the power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21485177)

This ranges from the small consumers, such as navigation equipment and lighting, to the large consumers, such as reefer containers and engineering subsystems. A 10,000 TEU Maersk liner might have 250 reefer slots, and that sucks a lot of power...
Hope I'm not the only one who misread "reefer" the first time. It's refrigerated slots.

I had visions of the crew, having launched the kite at 4:15, going down to one of the reefer slots for a 15-30 minute break, followed by a trip to one of the refrigerated slots for a little snack.

Re:Most of the power? (3, Insightful)

cadeon (977561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484735)

I hear that back in the day, devices like these created a 100% reduction in fuel use.

Re:Most of the power? (1)

ToastyKen (10169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484771)

So a kite that provides most of the ship's power can only afford a 50% reduction in fuel consumption?

I'm more confused by how there's a 50% reduction in fuel consumption, but only 10-20% reduction in greenhouse gases. This articles sounds like it needs to cite some verifiable sources. :P

Re:Most of the power? (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484777)

That's because the other 50% of the time the wind is blowing in the wrong direction

Re:Most of the power? (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484887)

Well they have to give 10% of the fuel in taxes as well...

They might be able to get this off the ground... (5, Funny)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484257)

...but in the end I don't think it'll fly. Too bad, as the failure of such an interesting idea will really knock the wind out of their sails. I hope they don't blow it.

Re:They might be able to get this off the ground.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484339)

I c wut you did thar.

Re:They might be able to get this off the ground.. (5, Funny)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484553)

"That will do Austin."

Re:They might be able to get this off the ground.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484799)

I really hope that this got modded "troll" by someone who doesn't speak English as a first language, because otherwise that's just retarded.

Re:They might be able to get this off the ground.. (1)

An dochasac (591582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484823)

A promising idea if they've done their deep engineering homework. The biggest problems I forsee are the possibility of large gradients across the kite, slack and tortion from monster waves, lightning and how to dump excess power.

Peanuts... (1, Funny)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484271)

If that freighter is ever named Charlie Brown, run like heck.

Yay old tech (5, Insightful)

Jackdaw Rookery (696327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484277)

This strikes me as a good example of the reusing old tech.

I think some of the article misses the point:

'What if fuel prices go down?' What if they don't? Prices will not go down in the long term and the companies using these will benefit the most.

'These can't be used in a head wind.' Well no sh*t Sherlock, thanks for that. It's to cut fuel use, not eliminate it. Any cut will be good for the company and the environment.

Re:Yay old tech (2, Interesting)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484333)

But No.6/Bunker-C is all the residual shit that can't be used for anything else. It'll get burnt somewhere, somehow. Refiners will find a way to sell it.

Re:Yay old tech (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484687)

Refiners will find a way to sell it.

Or dump it in the San Francisco Bay if they can't...

Then again, I'm not sure getting a kite the size of a football field tangled in the Bay Bridge would have been much prettier.

Re:Yay old tech (1)

tkw954 (709413) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485121)

But No.6/Bunker-C is all the residual shit that can't be used for anything else. It'll get burnt somewhere, somehow. Refiners will find a way to sell it.
Right on. It's like people who drink milk but refuse to eat meat. Or won't use glue made from animal parts.

Re:Yay old tech (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484375)

Well, you can sail in a headwind, why not para-sail.. or whatever this would be called?

Re:Yay old tech (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484527)

You'd have to have a ship with enough lateral resistance -- you can't just throw one of these on an ordinary freighter and go upwind like you could with a kiteboard.

Re:Yay old tech (1)

kindbud (90044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485161)

'These can't be used in a head wind.'

These sails can [symaltesefalcon.com] .

But it kills birdies.... (5, Insightful)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484285)

Certainly some bird is going to get hit by that kite! It will look ugly flying offshore hundreds of miles from where we can see it! The kite is made from polymers derived from fossil fuels! It somehow violates the second law of thermodynamics! It will sap energy from global winds leading to something bad! Won't somebody please think of the children [ of oil company executives]!

Seriously though... I can't think of any alternatives to fossil fuels that haven't run into enormous amount of flack.

Re:But it kills birdies.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484855)

Good God! Why don't you pull your lips off that 13 year old boy's cock. Pervert.

well, i hope you're wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484937)

A kite is about the last thing you want to run into an enormous amount of flak...

though i suppose it could flutter on, provided the flak doesn't hit the line...

What is autopitot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484365)

For that matter, what is a pitot and how do you automate it?

Re:What is autopitot? (3, Funny)

TheStonepedo (885845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484787)

They use a pitot-static tube to measure a pressure. By finding the pressure gradient across the kite it can be reconfigured to harness the wind optimally or reeled in if the wind is too strong. The entire process from measurement to reading to adjustment is automated: autopitot.

Re:What is autopitot? (1)

alecu2 (1170597) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485241)

hahahah, that's really funny. Why is anybody modding this "Informative" ?

Certain to be considered a security risk... (5, Funny)

phorest (877315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484371)

Once the pirates learn that there's a tasty morsel attached to that giant kite on the horizon...

Re:Certain to be considered a security risk... (4, Funny)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484437)

not if you put a giant skull and bones on the kite.

Re:Certain to be considered a security risk... (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484483)

So put some 5" guns and machine gun positions on it. :)
I am here to help!

Re:Certain to be considered a security risk... (4, Informative)

vrt3 (62368) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484917)

I know you're just being funny, but pirates have other and better means to locate possible targets, such as AIS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_Identification_System), which tells them not only exactly where the target is, but also where it's heading, how large it is, what kind of cargo it is transporting, how many crew members are on board, ... . AIS transponders are required on all ocean going vessels (except small yachts and stuff, though even that is probably about to change).

AIS-receivers plus a good VHF-antenna cost only a few hundred dollars so cost is not an issue to the pirates.

Combine technologies, boost efficiencies (1)

nadamucho (1063238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484401)

Why not add lightweight solar cells to the top of the kite? A collection area the size of a football field is pretty significant, and there's no reason copper wires can't be integrated into the tow rope. The electricity generated could be used for, well, anything.

Or better yet why? (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484475)

Why put them on the sail. What are the odds that the sail will be pointing at the sun... Why put them on the sail/kite at all instead of the ship? Why risk them getting lost if the sail goes into the water or the cable fails? Why try to make the as flexable as the sail so it is easy to store in case of storm or headwinds? The electrical load of a freighter is actually pretty small compaired to the propulsion load. So are you going to carry a big honking electric motor to use make in to an hybrid? If so why care the extra weight and drag on the screw shaft for something you could only use for a few hours each day?

Why not? Because it wouldn't really help in any way and would cost a lot of money.

Re:Or better yet why? (2, Informative)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484867)

Most large ships are hybrids.

Conventional generator powering an electric motor reduces wear and tear.

This is excellent to see. (0, Flamebait)

John_Booty (149925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484407)

Powering boats with sunlight is nothing short of miraculous. I hope that some day we are able to propel ships with other elements, such as the wind, as well. What an incredible world our children shall surely inherit!

Re:This is excellent to see. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484529)

u mad

Field? (0, Flamebait)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484427)

What's a football field?

Car Analogy! (1)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484593)

It's approximately the length of 20 trucks by the width of 10 normal sized cars.

Re:Field? (4, Funny)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484599)

Football field is a potential field generated by a standard football ball resting in air with temperature 22C and pressure 1013.25 hPa

Re:Field? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485181)

And what is a football?

Re:Field? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484747)

the aura emanating from John Madden ...

Re:Field? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484803)

An area 120 yards long and 53 1/3 yards wide where American football is played.

Which Field??? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484877)

Or better yet, what kind of football field?

Soccer (aka Football everywhere but the US)
American Football
Canadian Football
Australian Rules Football

In terms of a more universal measure of area... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484991)

It's approximately 0.0000017 times the size of Rhode Island.

This is an "update" from a July, 2006 article (4, Interesting)

puppetman (131489) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484439)

The original article is here:

http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/07/08/1735227 [slashdot.org]

The original article claimed a 33% savings in fuel costs. This new article claims a 50% savings under optimal conditions. Interestingly, the greenhouse gas savings are only 10-20%. Where is the logic in that?

Re:This is an "update" from a July, 2006 article (1)

samschof (928254) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484537)

Maybe they are selling carbon offsets.

20% reduction in fuel used + 20% of fuel costs sold as carbon offsets = 40% reduction in fuel costs.

One practical problem, (1)

complex(179,-70) (1101799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484457)

How do you let the kite take to the sky? Some strong sailor boys running to stern with the rope in their hands? Helicopter? Ship running backwards? Hmmm.

Just put some solar fans on the ship to go faster! (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484489)

There was an endless thread once in Make magazine's forums arguing the pros and cons of putting solar powered fans on a sail-powered car to make it go faster! Sheesh.

And obviously, as recent events prove (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/09/BAD8T8PLU.DTL [sfgate.com] ) , you need a non-dumbass boat driver who knows where the bridges are.

I hope they put beacons on the sail and rope (2, Insightful)

darkonc (47285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484535)

Otherwise, sooner or later, some unlucky pilot is going to suddenly find his left wing clipped off while flying at 900ft. (possibly damaging the kite control lines, in the process).

Re:I hope they put beacons on the sail and rope (1)

Slashdot Junky (265039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484689)

I was wondering how a ship kite would impact air traffic. Perhaps only short haul island hopping planes would fly at this attitude away from land, and the ships would only use the kites far enough out to only have high altitude flights above their shipping routes.

-Slashdot Junky

Re:I hope they put beacons on the sail and rope (1)

darkonc (47285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484859)

It's not likely to be that much of an impairment, as you're looking at the probability of a low-flying plane flying over what is essentially a moving mathematical point on the map. On the other hand, one such impact (especially by a small commuter plane on take-off/landing) could be very tragic.

Global Calming (2, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484651)

Bah, all these industrial sized sails and windmills are sure to lead to a depletion of the planetary wind system. All we need is the media to hype it up and people will be observing how it used to be windier years ago.

Gald to see this is actually coming to pass (1)

vecctor (935163) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484659)

I read an article about different versions of kite/sail technology for bulk cargo ships in Popular Science a long time ago. This was one of the companies mentioned.

I'm glad to see it wasn't just vaporware. If the the energy is there, might as well use it!

Spinnaker? (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484711)

So ... it's a really big spinnaker [wikipedia.org] ?

Cool. I like it.

Re:Spinnaker? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485009)

Yep. My thought. And it is about as much use as a spinnaker. Very nice in steady wind in the right direction. And not something you want to even think of if the weather is shite.

It's a washout! (1, Interesting)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484721)

What happens when the kite falls into water and the wind is not enough to lift it up wet? Or worse, what if it falls on top of the ship and hurts sailors, breaks things or rips? It seems we are too hasty to discard centuries of experience in designing sails, masts and lines. Even a spinnaker is at least tied to the top of the mast to keep it from falling and main sails are still useful in head and side winds.

Re:It's a washout! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484831)

What happens when the kite falls into water and the wind is not enough to lift it up wet?

I suspect they wouldn't launch it if the wind is low or unpredictable. And if it does fall into the water, it may be more economical to leave retrieval to a later smaller mission rather than hold up the cargo. Maybe they could attach a small transmitter to the ropes and then cut and go.
   

Bad for the atmosphere (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484725)

Convection is one of the three mechanisms of cooling (the others being conduction and radiation).

Kites, windmills - any kind of "wind power" - actually slows down air currents, which presumably adds to the earth's warming crisis.

From The Investor Ripoff Department (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21484809)

Give me a frickin break! This is purely an investor ripoff scheme. Sails? I mean kites? 50% energy savings? Did they fail to mention that the voyage will take 5 times longer to accomplish this savings and that if they throttled the regular engines back from 20+ knots to a point where the trip time was the same, the "savings" would evaporate?

Why do you suppose we shifted from sails to steam and then to internal combustion engines and then back to steam/nuclear in various Navies? It's because they are more efficient, reliable, controllable than wind powered propulsion. That's why even the most technologically advanced sailboats of today [doylesails.com] still have internal combustion engines for those countless times when sail just won't cut it.

All you utopians can flame me all you like. A dose of reality and old fashion time will show you that I am right. This is an investor scam doomed for failure.

Size of a Football field? (1)

Tired and Emotional (750842) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484811)

Law 1 of Football says that a football field is between 90 and 120 metres in length and 45 and 90 metres wide. That's just the playing surface. That's roughly 4000 square metres to 10000 sq metres. (International competition is between 6400 sq.m. and 8200 sq. m.)

The test sail, if you drill down, is 160 sq. m.

Hardly the size of a football field.

size of a football field ... (5, Funny)

eck011219 (851729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484841)

But how many bowling balls does it weigh?

Really, we're all geeky adults here. Can't we use real units? And moreover, we're not all in the U.S. (I happen to be, but still).

When it docks in the U.S., it's 100 yards long by 160 feet wide. Apparently when the ship docks in a Canadian port the sail will expand to 100 meters long and 59.4 meters wide. When it docks anywhere in the rest of the world, it will expand to anywhere from 100 to 110 meters wide to 64 to 75 meters wide. I guess it'll fold out or something.

And when it docks in Australia, it will run about 165 meters long by 135 meters wide (and while it will be hard to figure out how it works or what it's doing, it will be brutally violent).

Can we find anything more ambiguous to compare it to? How many loaves of bread long is it?

Re:size of a football field ... (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485059)

I, for one, have a better ability to visualize how large "a football field" is than ~100 x ~70m, even if the former 'measurement' is ambiguous. All football fields are in the same ballpark (haha), and higher precision isn't needed.

I mean if they said it was about half a hectare, that would be about as precise and far less meaningful.

American Football or Association Football? (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 6 years ago | (#21484895)

But which football code are we talking about? The different games have different sized pitches you know... ;-)

Total Cost of Ownership (2, Interesting)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485089)

TCO is often overlooked.

Take a look at private boats -- sail VS diesel. Sure, sail power is free, right? No. The cost of the sail which wears out, the cost of the lines & riggings. Add it all up and get TCO. Depending on what you are doing, diesel may be cheaper. Especially in commercial applications.

The cost savings in fuel is offset by the cost in the kite, riggings, and management of the kite. The TCO will be interesting to see. I would be surprised if it was any better than a wash in savings.

What is required of the ship? (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485171)

Could you mount this system on any ship and expect it to work? Or do you (e.g.) need a purpose-designed hull (e.g. yacht-like keel) to resist sideways forces from the kite?

Also, I think you can tack into the wind with one of these. The kite is steerable, so it doesn't have to be directly downwind of the ship. It is just a scaled-up version of kite-surfing. (Tacking travels extra distance, of course, so it might not always be economic to use the kite.)

Waterworld (1)

Bent Mind (853241) | more than 6 years ago | (#21485175)

Though I don't think it was the size of a football field, I remember this concept from Waterworld [imdb.com] . As I recall, the kite gave the Mariner's boat quite a boost.
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  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>