Re: [AWES] Bad news from Skysails
- SkySails' downsizing is the recurring pattern starting with Etzler and Pocock two hundred years ago, then the Kite Golden Age a hundred years ago, and continuing with Dave Culp's efforts in ship kites in recent decades, where lower fossil fuel costs suppress the advance of Kite Energy. Corrected for inflation, coal and oil is currently about as cheap as it has ever been, due to recent "advances" in extraction.Harry notes that cargo ship numbers are down, but shipping tonnages are still growing, as container megaships increasingly dominate. These monstruous ships are inherently more marginal to kite-assist, not just by high-consequence danger, but they naturally cruise faster in proportion to windspeed, squeezing an already narrow window of suitable kite-flying conditions. Cheap-Oil phases are not all bad for AWE; one can imagine laid-off SkySails folks starting new kite ventures that would not have happen otherwise.The best AWE bet to not get pushed around by fluctuating energy markets is to early-on find value-added niches based on the kite's unique quality of cheap flight, and let the energy application take hold in its own time. Kite-based sky-diving, experimental architecture, specialty lifting, fire-fighting; the cool possibilities boggle the mind. The same low oil prices hurting the ship kite market make it cheaper for small kite starts to acquire the oil-based string and rag to start with.
- Yeah The Baltic Dry Index, which reflects the price of shipping by sea ship, is at a very low point. So it's not just SkySails but all shippers that have reduced cashflow currently.
Since Skysails ostensibly lowers shipping costs, lower shipping costs should fit well with lowered shipping prices. There's a glut of new ships in production too.
--- In AirborneWindEnergy@yahoogroups.com, harry valentine <harrycv@...> wrote:
> The Baltic Index is a measure of the number of ships carrying cargo . . . . that number is down! Skysails needs to look into other areas for their technology . . . . such as pulling electric-generator watercraft.
- Aye, and when there are extra ships, they can offer lower rates for slower service as they take most advantage of the wind. OTOH, the owners just may not have money to invest.Bob StuartOn 13-Feb-12, at 9:02 AM, Doug wrote: