I don't see how it can make any money
competing against modern day container ships, some of which are over 1000 feet long now These ships are on tight schedules and fully laden cruise
typically at 23 to 27 knots. Does anyone see a problem yet? Apparent wind
....which way would the kite be pointing in most all wind situations? Backwards, effectively becoming a parachute causing drag on the vessel. Even in a good crosswind, the parachute would be aft of abeam of the ship...effectively applying drag to the ship. It would be a very rare situation where they could launch a kite and it would fly forward of the beam.
A ship on a route
is by definition going with wind with an aft component half the time....and this is when the ship is dead in the water
. Add some speed through the water
and that vector shifts aft. Making it less than half the time that a ship has the apparent wind forward of the beam. Make it a fast ship and the time the apparent wind is forward of the beam will be a rare occurrence.
Lets say hypothetically it is a very slow ship...like 12 knots. Even then it will be a rare occurrence when the ship is going enough downwind to justify launching the kite. Crews are not cheap
. Is the additional crew necessary in order to launch and retrieve a kite really make up for the tiny fractional savings in fuel for a kite what is flown on rare occasion? It's all business at sea trying to save costs so a company can remain competitive. Shipping
companies are not going to be inclined to do feel good environmental things unless they are forced to do so. We wont be able to force ships of other countries to do this. If it was forced on US Merchant ships it would make the US merchant marine
even less competitive against Taiwan Korea
One more factor is size. How large of a kite would be necessary to have any effect on a ship that is almost the size of an aircraft carrier? (1123 feet) Ships compete by economies of scale. The bigger they are the more efficient they are and the faster they become.
Perhaps it might work on some very small, slow speed ships that follow the trade
winds. Thats the only scenario I can imagine. This though is a very small percentage of merchant ships.