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It is a simple fact: Wind is cheaper than oil and the most economic and environmentally sound source of energy on the high seas. And yet, shipping companies are not taking advantage of this attractive savings potential at present - for a simple reason: So far no sail system has been able to meet the requirements of today's maritime shipping industry. SkySails is offering the only wind propulsion system which meets all these requirements. 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 energy supply of the control pod is ensured by means of a patented special cable integrated in the towing rope. the telescopic mast extends to its maximum height.Instead of a traditional sail fitted to a mast. The towing kite is made of high-strength and weatherproof textiles.FEATURES Reliable and high-performance technology The SkySails-System consists of three simple main components: A towing kite with rope. All information on the operation status of the system is displayed in real-time on the monitor of the SkySails workstation on the bridge and thus easily accessible for the crew. a launch and recovery system. The towing kite then unfolds to its full size and can be launched.20 mins each. Subsequently. e.from the kite storage. The towing kite is then reefed. The ship’s crew can operate the SkySails-System from the bridge. The entire launch and recovery procedure is carried out largely automatically and lasts approx.which is folded like an accordeon . The winch retracts the towing rope and the towing kite docks on the launch and recovery mast. The winch releases the towing rope until operating altitude has been reached. During launch. By means of dynamic flight maneuvers . The tethered flying SkySails can operate at altitudes between 100 and 300 m where stronger and more stable winds prevail. SkySails easily generate five to 25 times more power per square meter sail area than conventional sails. Emergency actions can be initiated at the push of a button. The recovery process is performed in the reverse order of the launch. The SkySails' automatic control system performs the tasks of steering the towing kite and adjusting its flight path. The telescopic mast retracts and the towing kite is stowed in the kite storage alongwith the control pod. the telescopic mast raises the towing kite .g. synthetic rope. 10 . Their shape is comparable to that of a paraglider. the figure of "8". . SkySails uses large towing kites for the propulsion of the ship. and a control system for automatic operation. The tractive forces are transmitted to the ship via a highly tear-proof.
Thus. With regard to classification society regulations. Their double-wall profile gives the SkySails towing kites aerodynamic properties similar to the wing of an aircraft. A folded 160m² SkySails for example is only the size of a telephone booth. The system can be recovered. but at courses of up to 50° to the wind as well. but not launched at wind forces below 3 Beaufort. since the towing kite is recovered when approaching land. The textile towing kite is easy to stow when folded and requires very little space on board ship. Unlike conventional forms of wind propulsion. or kept running at constant power to increase the ship's speed. In contrast to conventional sail propulsions the SkySails-System has no superstructures which may obstruct loading and unloading at harbors or navigating under bridges.Depending on the operator’s preferences. The operation of the system is not limited by any regulations at present. the heeling caused by the SkySails-System is minimal and virtually negligible in terms of ship safety and operation. the SkySails-System can operate not just downwind. the main engine can either be throttled back to save fuel. The SkySails-System is designed for operation in predominantly prevailing wind forces of 3 to 8 Beaufort at sea. .Smooth ship operation The SkySails-System supplements the existing propulsion of a vessel and is used offshore. the SkySailsSystem is categorized and treated as an auxiliary propulsion.
The force transmission system comprises the following components: towing rope. the SkySails-System can operate not just downwind. A multi-level security system and redundant components guarantee the highest possible safety during operation of the SkySails propulsion.SkySails components The SkySails-System consists of three simple main components: A towing kite with rope A launch and recovery system A control system for automatic operation. The profile of the towing kite is designed in such a way that optimal aero-dynamic efficiency can be achieved. without having to minimize the towing kite area. Force transmission The specially-designed force transmission system of the SkySails propulsion transmits the tractive forces of the towing kite to the ship. Presently. A line tree defines the requested kite shape by spanning lines of different lengths between the pod and the towing kite. Their double-wall profile gives the SkySails towing kites aerodynamic properties similar to the wing of an aircraft. The system is customized for each ship. Thus. but at courses of up to 50° to the wind as well. Towing kite Instead of a traditional sail fitted to a mast. It is double-walled and fitted with chambers along its entire length as well as ports at the front end. the power of the towing kite is reduced by changing its position in the wind window (relative to the horizon). SkySails uses large towing kites for the propulsion of the ship. 150 to 600m². reaching and downwind courses from 90° to 270°. Their shape is comparable to that of a paraglider. The towing kite is made of high-strength and weatherproof textiles. force transmission point and winch. In case of very strong winds. . The optional weather routing system provides shipping companies with a means to guide their ships to their destinations on the most costeffective routes and according to schedule. SkySails is offering towing kites for cargo ships with kite areas of approx. Practical experience shows that high propulsion power can be achieved on halfwind.
Towing rope The tractive forces are transmitted to the ship via a highly tear-proof. Winch The SkySails towing kite is recovered and launched using a dynamically operating winch. since that is where the anchor windlass is also housed. Force transmission point (Tow point) The "force transmission point" . The tractive force of the SkySails-System is directed to the bow area over the force transmission point mounted on the foredeck. The tractive force measurement is pre-installed in the winch.also called "tow point" . Generally the existing ship‘s structures are sufficiently dimensioned. which also serves as rope storage. The energy supply of the control pod is ensured by means of a patented special cable integrated in the towing rope.is the point at which the towing rope of the kite is connected to the ship. . synthetic rope. During heavy swell the winch assures safe operation during the launch & recovery procedure by means of dynamic sea-state compensation. The power transmitted by the SkySails-System is comparable to that of an ocean-going tug. The winch speed is chosen so that the towing kite can be stabilized at any time when wind conditions are unstable. An appropriate stability computation is made for each vessel prior to the installation of a SkySails propulsion. The tow point guarantees the optimal alignment of the kite's power for every course and wind direction.
The steering system of the SkySails consists of the control pod and the control system. It is similar to the autopilot of an airplane in that data is collected via sensors and processed by the autopilot software.Subsequently. the electronic components. . The control pod features a modular layout and is the physical link between the towing kite and the towing rope. A chassis made out of carbon fiber composite material carries the casing. Control pod The functionality of the control pod is comparable to the pilot of a paraglider: It „pulls“ to the left and right of the control lines. Both the mechanical control actuators as well as the electronics and the autopilot software for the control of the kite are installed in the control pod. to those of the control pod. The towing kite is aligned relative to wind direction. Its streamlined casing is waterproof and protects the electronic components against humidity and shocks. etc.). Control system The function of the control system is to steer the SkySails-System automatically. thereby modifying the aerodynamic profile of the towing kite and thus controlling its flight path. wind force. the gear mechanism and the motor. zenith position. A graphic user interface on the bridge informs those commanding the ship about the system‘s status and allows the system to be operated by inputting commands (flight maneuvers. the software sends control commands to actuators in the system. The control system comprises the following components: SkySails on-board computer The entire SkySails-System is managed using the SkySails on-board computer. ship course and ship speed in order to achieve optimal propulsion power.Steering system The steering system of the SkySails propulsion operates automatically. emergency maneuvers.
wind strength and ship‘s speed or holds the kite in a stable flight position. data communications and functions of the autopilot. The NMEA data stream (RS 232 or RS 422) is transmitted to the SkySails on-board computer. winch and mast adapter. sensors to measure the consumption are installed with the system. Launch and recovery process control Managing the launch and recovery process consists of controlling the launch and recovery mast. Ship sensors Sensors to measure the wind direction and the wind speed. The SkySails components mast / kite adapter. The autopilot is integrated in the SkySails steering system. force transmission point and winch are delivered by default with special sensors. The PLC is operated using a control panel installed on the foredeck when the launch and recovery process is to be controlled manually.Control pod computer A computer in the control pod takes over the tasks of sensor signals processing. In addition to that. The autopilot lets the towing kite fly defined maneuvers depending on the wind direction. Autopilot program / Kite maneuver control The towing kite is controlled automatically at all times. These ship sensors that are normally found on board must comply with the NMEA standard. The winch control is also handled by this PLC. as well as sensors for the rudder position. motor control. This semi-automatic mechanism in the form of a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) manages the entire launch and recovery process. . This is performed by an autopilot software like those used in aerospace applications. course and GPS must be installed on the ship for the SkySails-System.
. launch and recovery system as well as the kite storage are all included in a single component – the SkySails Arrangement Module (SAM) – that is integrated on the forecastle. The towing kite is stored in the kite storage on the forecastle. The telescopic mast retracts and the towing kite is stowed in the kite storage along with the control pod. The towing kite is then reefed. It is installed on the forecastle and consists of a telescopic mast with reefing system which unfurls and reefs the kite respectively during the launch and recovery process. The winch releases the towing rope until operating altitude has been reached. During launch.20 mins each. The entire launch and recovery procedure is carried out largely automatically and lasts approx. The winch retracts the towing rope and the towing kite docks on the launch and recovery mast. The towing kite then unfolds to its full size and can be launched. Subsequently. the telescopic mast extends to its maximum height. the telescopic mast raises the towing kite .which is folded like an accordeon .from the kite storage.Launch and recovery system SkySails Arrangement Module (SAM) The launch and recovery system manages the deployment and lowering of the towing kite. The recovery process is performed in the reverse order of the launch. A coupling mechanism connects the towing kite with the mast adapter attached to the launch and recovery mast. Force transmission point. 10 .
FORCE ANALYSIS COPr Aerodynamic force Drag (D) PH CG Weight (w) PV F = C1 * (p/2) * v2 * A L= c1 * A *(p/2)*v2 D= Cd* A* (p/2)*v2 In stable flight: PH – D = 0 PV – L + W = 0 .
due to the absence of friction with the earth’s and the water surface.Advantages High propulsion power The technical possibilities resulting from the spatial separation of the ship and the “sail” or towing kite give SkySails an entirely new performance spectrum. The tractive forces of the SkySails towing kite are transmitted to the ship at deck level.000m² in total. A further significant technological advantage of the SkySails propulsion is that the towing kites can operate at altitudes between 100 and 300 m where stronger and more stable winds prevail. At an altitude of 150m the average wind speed is approx. Since the SkySails-System generates a significantly higher propulsion power per square meter sail area than conventional sail propulsions. For the calculation of the tractive force of towing kites the airflow velocity is squared: F(a) = cl * p/2 * v² * A If the airflow velocity is doubled. This means that the autopilot can perform flight maneuvers with the towing kite such as the figure of eight (“8”) in front of the ship. The towing kite of the SkySails propulsion can be navigated “dynamically”. Minimal Heel Unlike conventional forms of wind propulsion. the heeling caused by the SkySails-System is minimal and virtually negligible in terms of ship safety and operation. The high airspeed of the towing kite is particularly relevant since the airflow velocity at the kite’s aerodynamic profile is the key to performance. As the kinetic energy of an air mass increases to the power of three with the wind speed.depending on the weather conditions. 25% higher than at an altitude of 10m. The lever arm which causes the inclined position (heeling) of conventional sailing ships is thus shortened. A cargo ship of the same length would be fitted optimally with a towing kite of 300m² in size. SkySails easily generate five to 25 times more propulsion power per square meter sail area than conventional sail propulsions. the tractive force of the SkySails-System quadruples. the towing kite can easily reach speeds three times that of the present true wind and more. . In practice. For comparison: The 109m long four-mast barque “Sea Cloud” has a sail area of 3. more than twice the amount of energy can be available at the operating altitude of the towing kite than at 10m . it is possible to gain significant savings by using comparatively small sail areas.
The main engine's propulsion power remains fully available if required.Dynamic force control The position of the SkySails towing kite in relation to the horizon can be varied for the integrated force control of the SkySails propulsion to ensure the ship’s safety. an autopilot controls the towing kite. the autopilot can position the towing kite in the neutral zenith position directly above the ship in max. Hybrid propulsion The SkySails-System is used parallel to and for relief of the main engine. The launch and recovery procedure of the towing kite is carried out largely automatically as well. strong winds occur. virtually all seagoing cargo ships can be out. In this position the towing kite does not exert any force onto the ship and can thus be safely recovered even in the case of strong winds. A folded 160m² SkySails for example is only the size of a telephone booth. since the towing kite is recovered when approaching land.or retrofitted with the SkySails propulsion.depending on the ship's size. sudden.Due to the compact and universal design. the reduction of the ship’s effective area by the SkySails-System is economically irrelevant. The power transmitted by the SkySails-System is comparable to that of an ocean-going tug. Automatic operation During operation of the system. In contrast to conventional sail propulsions the SkySailsSystem has no superstructures which may obstruct loading and unloading at harbors or navigating under bridges. 30 seconds. for example. . If. The textile towing kite is easy to stow when folded and requires very little space on board ship. The ship‘s regular crew is adequate for operating the system and no additional personnel costs will arise. since that is where the anchor windlass is also housed.At sea the SkySails-System damps the waves because the uplifting forces of the towing kite effect a smoother slicing of the ship’s hull into the wave . The tractive force of the SkySails-System is directed to the bow area over the force transmission point mounted on the foredeck. Generally the existing ship‘s structures are sufficiently dimensioned. if wind conditions allow. An appropriate stability computation is made for each vessel prior to the installation of a SkySails propulsion. Marginal spacial requirements Due to the spatial separation of the kite and the ship’s hull.
as an alternative propulsion system . .can also minimize the negative economic effects of engine malfunctions. the SkySailsSystem can be used as emergency propulsion to reduce average risk. In the case of a total breakdown of the main engine.Improved ship safety SkySails .
The SkySails-System is designed for operation in predominantly prevailing wind forces of 3 to 8 Beaufort at sea. Major weather systems and weather trends can be forecast for even longer periods. . Safety system A multi-level security system and redundant components guarantee the highest possible safety during operation of the SkySails propulsion. The routing system hence contributes significantly to system safety by means of projecting and preventing risk. The operation of the system is not limited by any regulations at present. Routing system & route optimization Modern meteorological methods make precise three to five-day weather forecasting possible. the SkySails-System is categorized and treated as an auxiliary propulsion. • The force vectors on the ship can be controlled by changing the direction of pull. the winch will automatically veer out the towing kite. Classification With regard to classification society regulations. The system can be recovered. • In case ofoverloading. • The tractive force can be modified and reduced as needed by changing the relative position of the towing kite to the ship.Operation & safety Operating conditions The SkySails-System supplements the existing propulsion of a vessel and is used offshore. but not launched at wind forces below 3 Beaufort. • The towing kite has an emergency release feature for use in extreme situations.
rudder angle and off-design of engine operation of the engines are small and counter acted by an improved open water propeller efficiency resulting in relative fuel saving that roughly equals the relative traction force by the kite. Loses due to drift. . Futurescope –the Lader mill technology: in this kites are arranged in series together which not only provides propulsion power but also generates electricity. Attaching the towing line to bow minimizes the required rudder angle.CONCLUSION The kite has nominal a power of upto 5000kW and is intented to lower fuel consumption raises by 10%-35% on average and by up to 50% in optimal wind conditions.
REFERENCE INSTITUION OF ENGINEERS(I) Journal (MR).org . VOL-90 www.skysails.com www.wikipedia.
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