A joint venture between renewable organisations and academia has created a new smart kite that powers ships with wind energy and also acts as a sophisticated navigation system for ships.
This project places sensors on very large (20m2) ship-based controlled kites is called AEOLUS. The innovation greatly increases coverage of an area of sea at marginal cost. Increasing the mounting height of a sensor from twenty metres to three hundred metres increases the navigation capabilities by a factor of 15 thanks to it being loaded with smart sensors
This allows a vessel patrol a vast sea area without the necessity to cruise long distances, saving on fuel and manpower costs and emissions. Life-saving applications due to increased contact with vessels who may otherwise be out of coverage are possible
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).
Funding for the programme was provided by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), and Enterprise Ireland, through its Commercialisation Fund Programme.
AEOLUS will form part of a portfolio of maritime hi-tech services and technology products for a new Irish company to be spun-out from CIT, with plans to employ 30 people by 2020.