DSM Venturing, the corporate venturing unit of Royal DSM NV, has announced that it has made an investment in Germany-based SkySails GmbH & Co. KG (SkySails), the market and technology leader for automated towing kite systems for ships.

The investment is fully in line with DSM’s strategic commitment to sustainability, innovation and partnerships, as outlined in its corporate strategy – DSM in motion: driving focused growth.

Financial details of the investment by DSM Venturing in SkySails will not be disclosed. The investment is part of a SkySails round of financing, which has now been successfully completed and with a total volume of €15m was the highest CleanTech venturing investment in Germany in 2010.

SkySails develops, produces and sells wind propulsion systems for the marine industry which are based on large automated towing kites. Depending on the prevailing wind conditions, a ship’s average annual fuel costs and emissions can be reduced by 10% to 35% by using the SkySails Kite System. Under optimal wind conditions, fuel consumption can temporarily be cut by up to 50%. The reduced fuel consumption leads to significantly reduced costs and lower emissions that helps safeguard the environment.

The venturing participation is a next step in the cooperation between the two companies. To date DSM Dyneema, SkySails and rope manufacturer Gleistein have been combining their expertise in a three-party technology partnership focused on the development of a special high-performance rope which delivers the unique blend of high strength, light weight and excellent durability required for wind propulsion systems. DSM’s Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber™, is a key enabling component in the SkySails kite system.

Gerard de Reuver, president DSM Dyneema said: “We are very pleased to extend our involvement with SkySails. With the development of its advanced kite based system, the company succeeded in establishing itself as a leader in the commercialization of wind propulsion solutions. I’m confident that the increased cooperation between our companies will lead to more sustainable innovations developed around SkySails’ core technology for various other markets.”

Stephan Wrage, managing director of SkySails added: “DSM Venturing’s investment is further proof of its belief in our activities. Both DSM and SkySails are highly committed to sustainability. Their support will help us to maximize the potential of our technology for our customers.”

The investment in SkySails brings DSM Venturing’s portfolio of current, direct investments to a total of 18.