Wind Assisted Transportation

Scudding across the San Francisco Bay of late has been a trimaran with a novel, wing-like sail, which ferry boat operators have expressed interest in fitting onto passenger carrying boats.  It’s not ready for prime time yet but serious money is being put up and serious operators watching the results.

Richard Jenkins, a longtime sail engineer, designed the sail that’s being tested for ferry service. He previously built a land sail to set the world speed record for wind-powered vehicles, hitting 126 mph in the Nevada desert in 2009, and more recently built an ocean-crossing drone with funding from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

“The same principles work really well for wind-assisted ferries,” Jenkins said.

The test sail that Jenkins created, which looks more like an upright airplane wing than a cloth sail, is powered by a built-in, solar-powered computer that rotates the glistening monolith to capture an optimal amount of wind and pass that power to the boat.

A unique trim tab attached to the top of the sail controls the angle at which the sail harnesses the wind.

There’s no rigging or tacking required, and all the pilot must do is turn on the sail, via a remote switch, and then watch the speed increase without revving the engine.

Wind Assist

…At a cost of about $250,000 to build, the group says the sail will quickly pay for itself through cutting fuel costs by 20 to 40 percent. A ferry can go through $1.2 million worth of fuel annually.

The prospect of curbing emissions of greenhouse gases and diesel particulate by up to 40 percent is what drew the attention of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which helped the group secure its grant from a 2007 pot of state money for promoting clean air.

SF Gate

And that’s not all.  Promised for 2013 but not sailing yet is a four masted [or more] container ship which would radically drop the use of fossil fuel on long-haul ocean transport.


Wind Power News

The government could issue leases for four new East Coast wind farms by year’s end as part of a streamlined approval process designed to quickly identify the nation’s most promising areas for offshore wind energy, theU.S. Department of the Interior said Monday.

The U.S. Department of Energy also said it intends to spend more than $50 million over the next five years to speed development of the farms and help meet President BarackObama’s goal of generating 80 percent of the nation’s electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.

SF Gate

MagLev Wind Generator

Jay Leno is pretty proud of how big his maglev generator is going to be.

For Wind Powered Cars

Says Lester Brown:

“Let’s Use Wind to Power Cars

Legendary Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens is half right. We do need to harness this country’s wind resources for a homegrown source of electricity, as he has been urging this summer in expensive television ads. And we do need to reduce the $700 billion we may soon be paying annually for imported oil.

But part two of Pickens’s plan — to move natural gas out of electricity production and use it to fuel cars instead — just doesn’t make sense.

Why not use the wind-generated electricity to power cars directly? Natural gas is still a fossil fuel that emits climate-changing gases when burned.”

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