7 Awesome Solar Boats You Must See

Solar sails on a cargo ship.

Solar Sailor Sun Sails

Reducing the amount of fuel that giant cargo ships burn is a very important goal. One interesting approach is using giant kites, but another is a combo of wind and solar power, the Sun Sails by Solar Sailor. A few months ago Warren wrote:

"The 30 metre long sails, festooned in photovoltaic panels are expected to catch enough wind to reduce fuel costs by between 20% and 40%, whilst those PV cells will provide the ships with 5% of their electricity. A computer automatically angles the sails for maximum wind and solar efficiency, and if all goes to plan the sails will have recovered their initial cost within four years."

Solar Sailor

Solar Sailor

Solar Sailor Hybrid Boats

The solar catamarans by Solar Sailor use the power of the sun, wind, and fossil fuels to move. The solar "wings" you see on top of the boats are not just passive solar panels. They can also be oriented to catch the wind:

"Flexibility is key to the wing design, and depending on weather conditions, these two sources are used simultaneously or singularly. The wings move automatically, tracking the sun for optimal solar collection and the wind for optimal sail power. In extreme wind situations, they fold down against boat. Engineered to operate in 40 knots of wind with 300% margin of safety."

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Tags: Alternative Energy | Solar Power | Transportation