Add ships being dragged along by giant kites to the list of things the industry is exploring in its quest to decarbonize.
The Ville de Bordeaux, a 154-meter-long ship that moves aircraft components for Airbus SE, is testing this month a 500 square meter kite on journeys across the Atlantic Ocean. It will undergo six months of trials before full deployment.
While the industry has come up with multiple decarbonization initiatives, it is struggling to keep pace with goals set out under the Paris Agreement on climate. There’s also pressure on shipping lines from large customers who are pressing to make their own supply chains less polluting.
The kite is called Seawing. Its developer, Airseas, estimates that an even larger 1,000 square-meter parafoil, flying at an altitude of 300 meters, will cut fuel consumption and emissions from vessels by about 20%.
Shipping carries more than 80% of all goods traded globally but also accounts for almost 3% of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.
Airseas says its technology is automated and can be installed on any ship — regardless of size — within a few days.
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