Image credit: MarineLog
From reporting on the early days of the SkySails propulsion system back in 2005, through following the first kite-powered trans-atlantic crossing, to the discussion of SkySails as a risk to aircraft, TreeHugger has been an excited proponent of bringing wind back into shipping. SkySails should be taking another step into the mainstream of ocean transport any day now, as they prepare to launch the World's first kite-powered fishing trawler. Somehow we missed this when the news first aired in October, but MarineLog reports that SkySails signed a purchase agreement with Germany's biggest fishing trawler, the Maartje Theadora—installing its unique automated, kite-powered propulsion system to provide supplemental power and cut down on fuel costs.
No word yet on just how much fuel the 160m2 SkySails propulsion system is likely to save, or when it will be operational (the image above is a photoshopped montage), but it was due to go into service in the early months of 2010. Diederik Parlevliet, CEO of Parlevliet & Van der Plas, one of Europe's largest fishing companies, had this to say about the system:
"We are looking for-ward to significant fuel savings by using the SkySails-System, particularly during those extended transfer runs to the African coast and in the South Pacific, not to mention the potential savings during actual fishing operations, while at the same time enabling us to reduce enormous amounts of CO2 emissions and make a big contribution to safeguarding the climate."
And while gigantic freezer trawlers are not what most TreeHuggers think of as sustainable, according to Parlevliet & Van der Plas' website the company is also making an aggressive push toward development and implementation of sustainable fishing policies in Europe and the Pacific region. I for one be watching closely to see the results.