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The aerospace manufacturer has ordered parafoil sails, called SeaWing, for one of its three roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) vessels used to move large aircraft parts between production sites in Europe and the U.S.
The device will be fitted to the vessel Ville de Bordeaux by the end of 2020. Airbus said it expects the device to improve fuel economy by 20 percent while reducing the firm’s overall emissions by 8,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
The kite-like device will fly from a cable attached to the front of the ship and will help “tow” the craft. It is able to autonomously deploy, operate and retract itself though a single switch, and it can collect and analyse meteorological data in real time to improve performance.
The modular device can be retrofitted to commercial ships during a regular stopover, Airbus said.
SeaWing was developed by the firm AirSeas. The firm was founded by Airbus employees, and Airbus owns 13 percent of the firm and is part of the board of directors.
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