London, January 24 : The world's first kite-pulled commercial cargo ship has begun a journey from Germany to Venezuela.
The MS Beluga Skysails, which has been designed with the objective of reducing fuel consumption by as much as 20 per cent, set sail on Tuesday.
Its designers hope that the state-of-the-art kite would help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, for fuel burnt by ships accounts for four per cent of global, which is twice as much as the aviation industry produces.
The 160 square metre kite flies more than 600ft above the vessel, and is controlled by a computer.
"The maiden voyage marks the beginning of the practical testing during regular shipping operations of the SkySails System," the BBc quoted Stephan Wrage, managing director of SkySails GmbH, as saying.
"During the next few months we will finally be able to prove that our technology works in practice and significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions," he said on the company's website," he added.
The giant kite is said to be capable of harnessing the full power of the wind.
Verena Frank, project manager at Beluga Shipping GmbH, SkySails GmbH's partner, told that the advantage of using the SkySails system is that "you do not need only backward winds - there can also be side winds and you can still set sail."
According to her, the kite can be used on medium-size cargo ships, cruise liners and trawlers.