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Old Posted Dec 17, 2021, 11:20 PM
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Giant Kite Will Pull a Ship Across the Ocean Next Month


- Starting in January, a huge boat will attach itself to an enormous kite in a first-of-its-kind test to try and alleviate harmful carbon emissions from toting stuff to and fro across the high seas. — About 80% of all the world’s goods are transported on around 50,000 ships, which use a particularly dirty fuel known as “bunker fuel.” It’s estimated that this cheap fuel is responsible for more than 2% of global carbon emissions, and between 10% to 15% of the world’s sulfur oxide and nitrous oxide emissions, both major public health menaces.

- Enter the humble kite. The parafoil kite that will be used is made by a company called Airseas. It measures around 5,380 square feet (500 square meters) and will be attached to a ship 505 feet (154 meters) in length called the Ville de Bordeaux. The ship is a “roll on/roll off” vessel, which refers to the fact that these ships usually carry wheeled cargo. (The shorthand term for this type of ship is, incredibly, a “Ro-Ro.”) This particular boat carries airplane parts between France and the U.S. The ship will test out the sail—er, sorry, kite—technology for six months before being used for its regular route.

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