Innovation That Matters

| Photo source CargoKite

Sustainable sailing: kite-powered micro-cargo ships

Mobility & Transport

Could these vessels cut the maritime industry's massive carbon footprint?

Spotted: Our oceans serve as the backbone of global trade. However, the extensive use of heavy fuel oils for maritime transportation has led to shipping contributing to three per cent of global CO2 emissions. CargoKite, a startup headquartered in Munich, is committed to changing this and transforming water travel with its innovative micro cargo ship.

The emission-free ship operates using an Airborne Wind Energy System, with its key feature being a kite. Flying at heights ranging from 100 to 300 metres, the vessel harnesses the powerful and steady offshore winds present 95 per cent of the time worldwide. In cases of insufficient or excessive wind, it employs a battery electric propulsion system that charges while the kite operates.

With its newly designed hull, the ship efficiently harvests wind energy and seamlessly converts it into forward motion. This energy-self-sufficient design also integrates hydrofoils – underwater wings that elevate the vessel, reducing water resistance and minimising drag. 

Launched in 2022, the company’s autonomous micro-cargo ship is patent pending and still undergoing development.

Springwise has previously spotted other green cargo ship initiatives, from two companies harnessing wind power for vessels to a startup using an AI robot to clean a ship’s hull for efficiency.

Written By: Georgia King



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