Kite surfing is a heck of a lot of fun for individuals, but a German kite company has extended the technique to Ocean-crossing cargo shipping. The world’s first kite powered freight ship recently embarked on its first 6 month ocean crossing, sailing from Germany to Venezuela.

MS Beluga SkySails’ kite stretches a surface of 160 square meters. The technique is as powerful as it is simple. Only a soft breeze enables a 132 meter heavy cargo vessel to sail smoothly. A touch more than a slight breeze and the weather conditions can be termed optimal for the alternative energy source, cutting costs by as much as 50%.

The kite was developed by a German manufacturer Sky Sails. The German news magazine Der Spiegel reports that it will be tested out in the next six months under real Atlantic weather conditions. The journey will determine whether the technique is going to be marketed to the shipping industry at large. If it turns out a success, more kites will go into operation before the Summer.

Watch a video of the kite ship here.

Angelique van Engelen is a journalist covering environmental issues. She runs http://amplifiedgreen.wordpress.com, a blog covering the implications of micro green issues in macro perspectives.

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