Maiden flight of the SkySails towing kite propulsion on a newly built cargo ship on the North Sea

Hamburg, (PresseBox) - A newly built cargo vessel was towed by the innovative wind propulsion of the Hamburgbased company SkySails on the North Sea near Bremerhaven, Germany for the first time. The 160m2 SkySails supported the main engine of the 132m long Multi Purpose Heavy Lift Carrier MS "Beluga SkySails" of the Bremenbased Beluga Shipping with approx. five tons tractive force at low wind.

Next Tuesday, the cargo ship will set off from Bremen to Venezuela and gain first experiences with the new system during the maiden voyage. "The maiden voyage marks the beginning of the practical testing during regular shipping operations of the SkySails-System. During the next few months we will finally be able to prove that our technology works in practice und significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions," says Stephan Wrage, Managing Director, SkySails GmbH & Co. KG.

Parallel and in addition to the practical tests on the MS "Beluga SkySails", the SkySails technology is advanced and optimized for series production readiness on further ships. Stephan Brabeck, Technical Manager at SkySails: "Certainly, the daily routine at sea will still bear many challenges for SkySails. It is thus now particularly important to raise the manageability and robustness of the system to the level demanded by our customers. We will have to face up to many challenges and in the process learn many very valuable lessons."

The Shipping company and the manufacturer calculate that by using the towing kite system, a ship’s average annual fuel costs can be reduced by 10 to 35%, depending on the prevailing wind conditions. Under optimal wind conditions, SkySails estimates that fuel consumption can temporarily be cut by up to 50%. The first results are to be expected in the next few months.

"Interest in the SkySails technology among shipping companies from all over the world has already been high before, but especially during the last year and in light of the rising oil prices it has increased considerably," states founder of the company Stephan Wrage.

SkySails GmbH & Co. KG

The SkySails company was established in 2001 and now comprises a team of over 60 people. A unique network of outside experts and powerful suppliers from the shipbuilding and aircraft industries, together with suppliers from the superyacht sector, has contributed to the development of the SkySails-System. Following a six-year development period, SkySails is currently pilot testing its fuel-saving and environmentally friendly towing kite propulsion system aboard the first cargo ships. In addition to cargo vessels, fish trawlers and superyachts can also be equipped with SkySails.

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