Solar Maximum

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by JonathanCole, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. JonathanCole
    Joined: May 2005
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    JonathanCole imagineer

    The sun is the largest Nuclear Fusion reactor in the solar system. And it is a comfortable 93 million miles away so we avoid all of the hassles of radioactivity. So we can actually have nuclear fusion powered boats via solar energy conversion devices. And I am not the only one who sees the vision. Check this out:
    http://www.why-yachts.com/
     

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  2. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer

    Beautiful design, great CAD rendering.

    Like many beautiful things: highly unpractical. This gives "dangers of following seas" a new dimension.
    The Wally Hermes homepage is approx 8 Mb without the video, which is rather clumsy and a waste of net space. Imagine how much material and energy they would waste if they really built this interstellar cruiser.
     
  3. Alik
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    Alik Senior Member

    From stern, looks like a floating drawer.
     
  4. kach22i
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    kach22i Architect

  5. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Relative to Why...
    Pic. n.1 - what happens when a wave hits those huge glass doors at the stern?
    Pic. n.2 - what does that bulbous bow serve for, if the bulb is out of water during the navigation?
     
  6. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    CDK retired engineer

    1. There are no waves, it is just CAD rendering. You are looking at someone's wet dream.
    2. I assume that it will be a ***** in limp state although that would contradict 1. There may also be a little starboard door: it that case the purpose is fishing.
     
  7. Jeremy Harris
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    Jeremy Harris Senior Member

    It's a shame that a sound idea can be presented in such a way as to cast aspersions on the whole concept. Obviously this rendering is impractical and has major failings in terms of it's sea worthiness, but what is worse, in my view, is that the designer has paid no heed to the essentials of solar propulsion design.

    What's needed is an easily driven hull, with good stability and sound seakeeping ability, that maximises the area for a solar array and also offers low windage, so that the boat can make way safely in high winds from any direction. Instead we have design with a wide transom, that in addition to the poor seakeeping qualities already mentioned, will also increase hull resistance. The bluff and relatively high sides will increase windage, so adding yet more to the power requirement.

    It's as if the designer of this boat has sought to produce something that would look good in a power boat showroom, with no regard to it ever having to work safely and practically.

    My own view is that a solar powered boat of this size needs to be pretty radical looking in order to offer good performance, decent accommodation space and an acceptable level of safety and seaworthiness. I think that Rick's idea of a trimaran-type hull is a good one, as it's possible to get a long waterline length and an acceptable level of stability with a relatively low wetted area; in fact such a design looks better than a catamaran in terms of being easily driven. The superstructure needs some thought, as although a large area is needed for solar panels, windage (from all directions) needs to be kept to a minimum. I have a feeling that something like a saucer shape might be best, with the deep accommodation space in line with the centre hull.

    Such a boat would look alien to those who prefer boats to look like boats, as it would look a bit like the starship Enterprise. Then again, I suspect that a modern racing multihull would look alien to a sailor of 100 years ago, so perhaps this is just a matter of us getting used to boat shapes evolving with changes in technology.

    Jeremy
     
  8. yipster
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    yipster designer

    great CAD rendering but looks and probably acts like a floating drawer allrite
    my initial puzzle was what good is a bulb bow in planning
    couse in displacement mode you'l waiste that solar energy fast with such a wide beam
     
  9. kach22i
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    kach22i Architect

    The catamaran by PlanetSolar which I posted has none of the failings of the original post. A large solar cat can be done, it is a shame someone released/unleashed a unrealistic and not thought out proposal.

    Large catamaran by PlanetSolar
    http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/eco-boats-planetsolar-to-circumnavigate-the-globe-in-four-months/
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And yes it is more than just a scale model: PlanetSolar catamaran beckons sun and sea (14 photos)
    http://news.cnet.com/2300-17938_105-10002604.html
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I don't mean to hi-jack the thread, but waiting for this thread turn into three pages of dissing a poor design would be rather fruitless. I'd rather open up the conversation in a more positive direction.:)
     
  10. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Wow, that's an impressive and good-looking design! I agree that it is much better thought out than that Why-drawer. Still, it's shape drammatically underlines the main problem with the actual PV cells technology - the conversion efficiency. With as little resistance a sleek cat can offer, the whole deck had to be covered with PV cels, in order to obtain the necessary energy and power to push the ship through the water.

    I personally don't think this is the right way to go, though this solution is a nice leap when compared to the former one.
    A more sound solution, imho, would consist in the onshore energy generation, with the onboard storage. We (the mankind) need to pursue in search of some drammatically better energy storage systems than what we have at present.

    By the way, the only thing this machine lacks are warp-drives... ;)
     
  11. Jeremy Harris
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    Jeremy Harris Senior Member

    Those photos show the shape much more clearly - it looks more like the starship Enterprise than I guessed from the first photo!

    Why is it bad to have a big deck covered with solar panels, but not bad to have massive sails poking up in the air?

    Surely it's just as I said in the post above, a matter of us adapting to boats using this technology that look very different to those we're used to, isn't it?

    Jeremy
     
  12. daiquiri
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    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Yes, that's probably true. But the free deck area is always valuable, and the people still have the idea of the boat (powerboat) where everything that is necessary to push through the water it is down there in the engine room.

    From the marketing point of view, you have more chances of selling it if you make some space available for chicks to sunbathe. ;)

    So let's hope, for the sake of environmentally-friendly boating, that PV cells and eergy-storage devices will make a significant leap in efficiency in the next years
     
  13. kach22i
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    kach22i Architect

    Flexible solar cells made into wind sails could do double duty with these type of designs.

    9 knots, it will take several years to go around the world. Better be a man and a woman and not two guys in the tiny PlanetSolar cabin.:D
     
  14. Munter
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    Munter Amateur

    The real boat looks great. I'd love to see it in operation.

    The design will be interesting to live with though. Based on the position of the cabin and the width of the decks around it everything on the water's surface must dissapear from view when it gets within 100m of the boat! I guess that can be solved with screens, cameras and look-outs but perhaps cabins could be mounted underneath the plane of the solar cells on future solar boats?
     

  15. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer

    I'm afraid that will not happen. Even if the technology to make truly flexible photovoltaic cells would exist, waterproofing, weatherproofing and the metal grid to connect them would make the sail 5 times heavier.

    The PlanetSolar boat is the proper way to do it, assuming they didn't forget to install an extensive cooling circuit under their panels. A white deck in summer can be too hot to stand on without shoes, on a solar panel without air circulation you cannot even walk with shoes.
     
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