French company Airseas successfully completed sea trials in 2023 for their Seawing kite, which aims to propel cargo ships and reduce fuel usage. The company’s goal is to outfit large ocean haulers with these kites to save fuel and reduce emissions. The Seawing kite has the potential to reduce air pollution by 20% and can be retrofitted onto active vessels with ease. The kite is completely automated and uses advanced software to guide its performance based on wind speed and other factors.
The successful trials tested the automated takeoff, stationary traction flights, and dynamic flight phase of the Seawing kite. The kite can soar up to 984 feet above the ship and provides more than 110 tons of traction. Airseas is also building a hangar in Morocco to further test the kite and its parts, and five Seawings have already been purchased by a shipper from Japan. The company is optimistic about the future of the Seawing, with plans to increase the work order to 51 if all goes well.
The maritime industry produces nearly 3% of global human-caused, heat-trapping dirty air, and the Seawing kite is part of an effort to reduce air pollution in the industry. Airseas CEO Vincent Bernatets expressed excitement about the early successes of the Seawing and the company’s confidence in its future performance.