Thousands of merchant ships transport 90% of the world’s oil, gas, coal, grains, and other goods across the high seas and around the globe. With this being said; the burning of fossil fuels to keep the merchant ships going are one of the major contributors to the increase of carbon dioxide levels into the atmosphere and adding to the rapidly changing climates. A German company called SkySails has finally had enough and developed a propulsion kite that will use wind as power and hopefully help to save the planet.
The first of these kites is over 400 feet long and cost $725,000. Flying three hundred meters above the water, it will haul the ship MV Beluga SkySails forward. By using this new high tech kite system, it will cause the ships to maintain use of their diesel engines and cut the use of fuel by at least 20%. Their current theory is the bigger the kite, the bigger the cut of fuel usage.
Skysails’ is looking to prepare over a thousand ships with these kites by 2015, but why wait so long to do that? Climate change is rapidly approaching and we need to act now and we need to act quickly. The maiden voyage of the original SkySails kite will be sometime this month across the Atlantic Ocean with its destination being Venezula. Well, it’s the first month of 2008 and this first voyage will give the developers a chance to find the kinks and bugs and develop a way to repair them, which of course can take time. But, if there are no problems and everything is a go, then why wait seven years to add them to ships? Seven years could be a great deal of help to our climate’s condition.
Even though Skysails’ have a great product that will greatly help our lives, money is still what fuels the world. Within the upcoming years, many companies are threatening that businesses will have to cut their emissions or will have to pay some type of fine or fee. Yes, this high tech kite will save merchant ship companies a lot of money, however when the future of our planet is concerned, I really think money should be thrown out the window.
European researchers have concluded that the emissions of carbon dioxide by shipping are double that of aviation, making their harsh contribution at a global total of 5% and rising. In October 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered shipping companies to order them to lower pollution caused by their ships. Many people never took this seriously and underestimated the actual effects that ships are causing onto our climate, until recently.
Scientists have confirmed that half of all of the carbon dioxide that is man made is absorbed by our oceans. As the absorption of carbon dioxide in our oceans climb, the thriving marine life decline.
In conclusion, with the shipping industry throwing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and oceans by the hundreds of millions of tons, at the rate we are going the number will enter the billions in the next few years and we shouldn’t have to wait until the price is right for shipping companies to start contributing in the safety of our planet, because at the rate we are going there may not be one left.