London, Jan 20 : A German engineer has paved way for 'green' ships by inventing a vessel that will be powered by a giant, parachute-shaped kite, instead of diesel.
The cargo ship is set to leave Germany on a voyage that indicates a new 'green' age of commercial sailing on the high seas.
With the help of MS Beluga, a 462ft cargo vessel, its owners will be able to prove that modern steel ships can use wind power and cut the need for diesel engines.
During the voyage from Bremen to Venezuela, the crew will set up a SkySail, a 160 square metre kite which will fly more than 600ft above the vessel, where winds are stronger and more consistent than at sea level.
Stephan Wrage, the inventor of the ship, has claimed that the kite will significantly reduce carbon emissions, cutting diesel consumption by up to 20 per cent and saving 800 pounds a day in fuel costs.
According to him, an even bigger kite, up to 5,000 square metres, could result in fuel savings of up to 35 per cent.
Wrage believes that the kites could be suitable for up to 60 per cent of the world's 90,000 commercial ships.
"Only the tough conditions imposed on a ship during a long voyage of this kind can show whether the SkySail is effective and whether the materials used in the kite can stand up to the stresses and strains," the Telegraph quoted him, as saying.