A new freighter is set to take its first cruise today, aided by a handy little piece of technology- a giant kite. The child's-toy-writ-large will help cut fuel consumption by 20 per cent. A good thing, since shipping accounts for about 4 per cent of the world's carbon emissions (even more than aviation!).
That's pretty cool. Still, it's somewhat sad that we've crawled so far up the backside of oil dependency, the idea of using wind to power ships is somehow 'new' and 'exciting'. While a giant kite delivers some advantages over sails, the basic concept has been with us for thousands of years. I guess what's old really is new again.