New Irish-developed smart kite will power ships with renewable energy

14 Jul 2015

A new joint venture between renewable organisations and academia has created a new smart kite that not only powers ships with wind energy but acts as a sophisticated navigation system for ships.

As many of you are probably thinking, a ship powered by wind energy might not necessarily be the most advanced concept given that it had been the main source of power for ships for hundreds of years, but this new smart kite will make fossil-fuel-powered ships much more sustainable in the future.

According to the Engineers Journal, this newly-developed kite was revealed at SeaFest in Cork, where the kite, measuring 20m2 , was explained as not only a green solution for ships – particularly the Irish Defence Forces’ fleet – but also one which will increase a ship’s ICT capabilities.

In operation, the kite would be hoisted 300m above the ship, making the ship faster while also increasing its range capabilities and, most importantly, increase the ship’s navigation capabilities by a factor of 15 thanks to it being loaded with smart sensors.

‘Something truly unique’

The kite also offers other potential applications for the Irish Naval service and environmental research organisations in Ireland as its sensors can participate in environmental monitoring, maritime forecasting and data transmission from ocean energy devices.

The project comprises many different areas of naval, environmental and technological backgrounds, including the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster (IMERC), Cork Institute of Technology (Nimbus and Halpin Centres), the Tyndall National Institute and University of Limerick (UL).

Meanwhile, funding for the programme was provided by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), and Enterprise Ireland, through its Commercialisation Fund Programme.

The chief executive of the SEAI, Dr Brian Motherway, said of the venture: “This groundbreaking collaboration combines our strength in clean energy and advanced technology to create something truly unique. It is a very exciting showcase for Ireland.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic