Published on Jun 05, 2023

Abstract of SkySails-System

Depending on the prevailing wind conditions, a ship's average annual fuel costs can be reduced by 10 to 35% by using the SkySails-System. Under optimal wind conditions, fuel consumption can temporarily be cut by up to 50%.Currently, SkySails is offering towing kite propulsion systems for cargo vessels with an effective load of between 8 and 16 tons. SkySails with an effective load of 32 tons are under development. The planned product program comprises towing kite propulsion systems with an effective load of up to 130 tons. Virtually all existing cargo vessels and new builds can be retro- or outfitted with the SkySails auxiliary wind propulsion system. Fish trawlers and super yachts of over 30 meters in length can be retro- or outfitted with the SkySails auxiliary wind propulsion system as well.

SkySails operates within a powerful network of renowned development partners and suppliers from the shipping and airplane industry. Essentially, the SkySails technology consists of a combination of tried and tested components from both areas - e.g. mooring winches from the offshore industry.

The SkySails-System consists of three simple main components: A towing kite with rope, a launch and recovery system, and a control system for automatic operation.Instead of a traditional sail fitted to a mast, SkySails uses large towing kites for the propulsion of the ship. Their shape is comparable to that of a paraglider. The towing kite is made of high-strength and weatherproof textiles. The tethered flying SkySails can operate at altitudes between 100 and 300 m where stronger and more stable winds prevail.

By means of dynamic flight maneuvers , e.g. the figure of "8", SkySails easily generate five to 25 times more power per square meter sail area than conventional sails. The tractive forces are transmitted to the ship via a highly tear-proof, synthetic rope. The energy supply of the control pod is ensured by means of a patented special cable integrated in the towing rope. During launch, the telescopic mast raises the towing kite - which is folded like an accordeon - from the kite storage. Subsequently, the telescopic mast extends to its maximum height. The towing kite then unfolds to its full size and can be launched. The winch releases the towing rope until operating altitude has been reached. The recovery process is performed in the reverse order of the launch.

The winch retracts the towing rope and the towing kite docks on the launch and recovery mast. The towing kite is then reefed. The telescopic mast retracts and the towing kite is stowed in the kite storage alongwith the control pod. The entire launch and recovery procedure is carried out largely automatically and lasts approx. 10 - 20 mins each. The ship's crew can operate the SkySails-System from the bridge.