CSIRO successfully commercialises the UltraBattery

This will be old news for some but a reader has just pointed out that the UltraBattery (previous post) has been successfully commercialised by the CSIRO.

CSIRO has exclusive sub-license agreements with East Penn Manufacturing Company and The Furukawa Battery Company to manufacture and distribute the batteries. East Penn Manufacturing Company will service the automotive and motive power sector throughout North America, Mexico and Canada while The Furukawa Battery Company will release the technology in Japan and Thailand.

The following links provide more detail.

CSIRO press release

Furukawa UltraBattery page (good images, diagrams and technical data)

East Penn press release

Information on The Furukawa Battery Company site also suggests larger UltraBatteries are being developed for wind power applications.


MV Beluga Skysails completes her maiden voyage

In December 2007 I wrote that the MV Beluga Skysails (previous post) had been officially launched in Hamburg, Germany. I am pleased to say that the kite assisted ship has completed her maiden voyage from Germany to Venezuala. MV Beluga Skysails was due in port in Venezuala on 05 Feb 08.

Reuters are reporting she recorded fuel savings of between 10 and 15 percent during parts of its voyage across the Atlantic. The computer-guided kite system was only fully deployed after it experienced trade winds near the Azores. The 10 to 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption amounts to savings of between $1,000 and $1,500 per day. Once the bugs have been ironed out and the crew’s expertise with the €500,000 system improves, fuel savings are projected to be up to 20 percent.

Source: Reuters

First Skysails cargo ship officially launched

The MV Beluga Skysails was officially launched in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday night. MV Beluga Skysails is the first cargo vessel in the world to be fitted with the innovative Skysails auxiliary propulsion system.

MV Beluga Skysails

Niels Stolberg, CEO of Beluga Shipping GmbH, said:

You have to have the courage to try out something new. This courage is based on the certainty that the SkySails system is the only sail system in the maritime shipping sector to date that can be used in commercial operation without any restrictions in vessel use.

Eva Luise Köhler, wife of the Federal German President, awarded the vessel her name, MV “Beluga SkySails”, during the christening ceremony at Überseebrücke in Hamburg.

The MV Beluga SkySails is equipped with a kite measuring 160 square metres which is expected to reduce fuel consumption by 10 to 15 percent in the initial phase of operation. Later, when the kite is scaled up to 320 square metres in the course of the coming yearsavings of 20 to 30 percent are expected.

MV Beluga SkySails will undertake its maiden voyage across the Atlantic to Venezuela in early January.

Source: Beluga Group via SBS

Cargo ships propelled by giant kites

German company SkySails are developing wind propulsion systems for modern shipping. These systems are large kites similar to those you see powering kite surfers. Their target market includes cargo ships and large motor yachts.

The advantages of the kite system are that it can be flown in clean air well above the surface of the water and because it is tethered to the deck of the ship it doesn’t produce the leaning moment that would be experienced with a similar size sail on a mast.
The planned product range contains towing kite propulsion systems with a of up to 5,000 kW (about 6,800 HP). On annual average fuel costs can be lowered between 10-35% depending on actual wind conditions and actual time deployed. Under optimal wind conditions, fuel consumptions can temporarily be reduced up to 50%.