Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Flying a kite

This week there's been a rush of articles of the use of kites by the shipping industry, such as this one at the BBC news site.

One thing that struck me was the phrase that "commercial shipping is normally the villain of the transport world" on the grounds that it produces 4% of the worlds CO2 emissions.

This seems more than a little misleading - it would imply that other forms of transport are somehow "better".

But if you take a measure such as how much CO2 is produced for every tonne of goods moved 1 km then shipping wins - and by a huge factor.

According to this site a "cargo vessel carrying over 8000 tonnes emits 15g CO2 per tonne kilometer compared to a 747's 540g" - so thats 36 times higher for aircraft than a ship!

And with the kite increasing the ships efficiency by 10 - 35% that ratio can only move even more in favour of the ship.

The reason for the 4% is that there's an awful lot of goods being moved around the world by boat. And more importantly, if more goods went by sea instead of going by air the overall CO2 emissions would go down.

Wizzy picture of kite from the SkySail site

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