K Line to Equip Ships with Automated Kites
Japanese company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) has entered into a twenty-year agreement with Airseas to supply Seawings for their vessels. Seawing is an automated kite based on parafoil technology which provides wind propulsion to commercial ships and can reduce CO2 emissions by up to twenty per cent.
Airseas will first install and service one ship with a Seawing. Once delivered and tested, K Line will contemplate to order up to fifty additional Seawings. With the deal, Airseas hopes to kick-start its industrial scale up.
5200 Tons of CO2 Per Year
According to Mr Asano, SMEO of K Line, the Seawing can reduce the environmental footprint of a capesize vessel by 5200 tons of CO2 per year depending on the vessel voyage route. 'This contributed to achieving our goal to reduce CO2 emissions by half, targeting year 2050, in the K Line Environmental Vision 2050.'
Kites Have Yet to Conquer the Market
Airseas is not the only company offering kites for ships. The first such company was SkySails, a company operating from Hamburg, Germany and founded in 2001. It installed its first kite in 2007 on the cargo ship Beluga SkySails. After Beluga Shipping's bankruptcy and a difficult market in general, the company downscaled and has now shifted its focus to yachts. In addition to SkySails, the company now also offers energy management solutions.
It goes to show kites have not yet conquered the market. Upcoming regulations, however, may boost sales for this type of wind-assisted propulsion.