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Thursday, March 17, 2011
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Cargill Flies a Kite

By Susanne Stahl

Cargill, the international agriculture giant, is installing a 320-square-meter kite on one of its chartered shipping vessels in the hopes of improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The kite, made by Hamburg, Germany-based SkySails, is designed to cut fuel consumption by up to 35 percent under ideal sailing conditions. It flies ahead of the ship at a height between 100 meters and 420 meters to generate propulsion; it is computer controlled by an automatic pod to maximize wind benefits and requires only minimal handling by the crew.

"For some time, we have been searching for a project that can help drive environmental best practice within the shipping industry and see this as a meaningful first step," said G.J. van den Akker, head of Cargill's ocean transportation business. "The shipping industry currently supports 90 percent of the world's international physical trade. In a world of finite resources, environmental stewardship makes good business sense. As one of the world's largest charterers of dry bulk freight, we take this commitment extremely seriously."

Cargill transports more than 185 million tons of commodities annually.

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