Industry Airbus to use self-developed SeaWing kite on transportation ships

  • Airbus

A team of Airbus engineers has developed a kite for transportation ships, with the aim to lower emissions. Now, Airbus has released that it will use the SeaWing on its own transportation ships first.

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The so-called SeaWing kite was developed by Airbus Start-Up project company AirSeas, in which environmentally-engaged engineers were involved.

SeaWing is an automated kite, which uses parafoil technology to tow large commercial ships. It is expected, that the kite will improve the fuel economy of large ships by 20 percent, while heavily reducing emissions.

Airbus has now announced, that it will use the SeaWing on its own transportation ships, bringing the concept into a full circle. The so-called ro-ro ships (roll-on/roll-off) transport aircraft parts to China, Europe and North America. The kite is set to lower shipping costs and will allow Airbus to lower its overall industrial environmental footprint by 8,000 tons of CO2 per year, said the manufacturer.

CEO and founder Vincent Bernatets commented: “We are very proud that Airbus has confirmed its confidence in the SeaWing system after seeing our test results first-hand on their own ship [...] This first ro-ro vessel installation opens the way for further pioneering deals on container ships, bulk freighters and ferries.”

The kit will be installed up front in the ship. With the activation of a switch, the SeaWing can be launched. It will then operate autonomously, according to Airbus. While towing, the kite will receive and analyse meteorological information to optimize performance. When the kite notices that its towing effect is no longer required, it will automatically refold and recover.

In a statement, Airbus said that the SeaWing has been designed for a rapid integration on almost all commercial ships in operation today.

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