The Wind Powered Sail-less Boat

Discussion in 'Stability' started by DuncanRox, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. DuncanRox
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: U.K.

    DuncanRox TurbineBoatApprentice

    Hello everyone,

    I am an engineering student in the U.K. and have just been given a project to design and create a working model wind powered sail-less boat. Thats right a boat powered by the wind but without a sail. :eek: Ha ha...

    Anyway a bit about the project.

    The hull is approximately 1.5m x 0.4m (at widest section).
    We have 2 hulls and can therefore construct a catamaran design. (likely)
    It can hold about 20kg max per hull, without buoyancy aids.

    The boat does not need to travel with any significant speed but must be able to complete a short slalom course and make it back to shore if the wind speed drops....therefore some form of energy storage must be implemented, although this comes with a hitch. It must be mechanical energy storage ie flywheel, elastic band or spring.

    The contraints of the project allow the use of battery powered servos to ideally operate rudders but this is the only electrical storage permitted.

    So far, our team has decided to use a vertical axis wind turbine, probably Darius, to provide the core power. This obviously has the advantages of being able to catch the wind in any direction and it's weight is more evenly distributed than a horizontal axis wind turbine, helping with balance issues.

    This is probably the sort of turbine we will construct ourselves due to it's small scale nature and also operate with mechanical power transmission to attach/gear some form of mechanical storage device.

    We have not yet constructed any part of our model boat as we are still in the early stages of the analysis. I have therefore made this post to generate some interest in the project and also run our initial ideas past everyone.

    So what do you think? Is this possible?

    Ha ha, let me know your thoughts!


  2. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    If you do a search on wind powered models in this site - you will get page after page after page of info. Its been done to a lingering death in here.
    Yes it will work, no Darius turbines are not the most efficient, (despite what you saw on WaterWorld)

    You may want to search for Flettner Rotors as well.
  3. Boatpride
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: UK

    Boatpride Boatpride

    Great Project!

    I think it's an imaginative idea. As i have not got involved in the propulsion

    debate listed above, i went and did a little checking on the subject. I found

    some non technical but contextual bits at regarding

    the Flettner Rotor.

    Do keep us up to date it sounds fascinating!

  4. tatoski
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    Location: Manila, Philippines

    tatoski Junior Member

    I think it will work but not dead to windward. Friction or resistance of the turbine will be greater than the force generated by your propulsion. Maybe couple your flywheel to your turbine so when it needs to go dead against the wind then the inertia of the flywheel will help it through.
  5. thudpucker
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Location: Al.

    thudpucker Senior Member

    Didnt Jaque Costeau have something like that? It looked like a big pole standing upright in his boat. I must be the Dolt, because I didnt see how it was supposed to power a boat.
  6. steele m.a.
    Joined: Dec 2007
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    Location: Victoria B.C. Canada

    steele m.a. Designer/Engineer

    Instead of a flywheel energy storage , you might consider a hydraulic
    pump/accumulator/motor .
    This will store mechanical energy more efficiently.

  7. robherc
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: US/TX

    robherc Designer/Hobbyist

    Hmm, I'm not sure about hydraulic, per se, but a pneumatic setup would work QUITE well (and efficiently) could actually channel ALL of the power from your turbine THROUGH the entire pneumatic storage/energy transfer system, and use it for a transmission as well.

    something like:
    Turbine > compressor pump > Pressure Tank > pneumatic motor > drive shaft to your screw/prop/etc.

    It'd have the disadvantage of having to wait for it to build up a bit of pressure in the beginning, but then you'd always have pressure reserved in the tank for fighting your way into the wind, or for "limping home" if you lose your wind. I'd HIGHLY recommend you attach one of your servo motors to the regulator though, so you can control the storage/release of the pressure from shore, if you use this method.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
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