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posted by martyb on Sunday July 16, @04:36PM   Printer-friendly
from the interesting-but-will-it-pay-back? dept.

WaPo and many other outlets
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/self-fueling-boat-sets-off-from-paris-on-6-year-world-trip/2017/07/15/03b2ac7a-6976-11e7-94ab-5b1f0ff459df_story.html

report that a 100 foot (~30m) racing catamaran has had the mast(s) removed and instead fitted with a combo of solar cells and vertical axis wind turbines. It also makes H2 by electrolysis of sea water and can run off a hydrogen fuel cell at night.

Originally designed in 1983, the boat enjoyed a successful career in open-sea sailing races before skippers Frederic Dahirel and Victorien Erussard and a French research institute converted it into the Energy Observer project.


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  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @04:49PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @04:49PM (#539933)

    If you're an elephant and can suck your own dick, then maybe we have a story here.

    I mean, have you ever seen an elephant suck themselves off?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Sunday July 16, @05:40PM (7 children)

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 16, @05:40PM (#539947)

    I ran the numbers on converting a 30ft cruiser to solar electric drive a long time ago; the numbers are unpleasant; this explains why its going to take a 100 footer, which should have a hull speed of about 13 knots, about six years to circumnavigate.

    Also I don't think the solar panels will survive Cape Horn.

    I can't read the article because they block people using ad blockers and its not like I'm going to stop ad blocking LOL.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @05:50PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @05:50PM (#539951)

      It doesn't matter because by the time this solar boat is lost at sea, Trump will have set the world on fire and we'll all be dead.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @06:37PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @06:37PM (#539962)

        by the time this solar boat is lost at sea, Trump will have set the world on fire and we'll all be dead.

        "Lost at sea"-lost-lost or "lost at sea"-doesnt-want-to-be-found-lost?
        Maybe it is their plan all along to be the pioneers of water-world?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @08:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @08:15PM (#540000)

      You made the mistake of leaving JS enabled, I guess? There's not much of an article, however.

      PARIS — A boat that fuels itself is setting off around the world from Paris on a six-year journey that its designers hope will serves as a model for emissions-free energy networks of the future.

      Energy Observer will use its solar panels, wind turbines and a hydrogen fuel cell system to power its trip. The 5 million-euro ($5.25 million) boat heads off Saturday from Paris toward the Atlantic.

      The futuristic-looking 30.5-meter (100-foot) boat will rely on sun or wind during the day and tap into its hydrogen reservoirs at night. It produces its own hydrogen through electrolysis of sea water.

      Originally designed in 1983, the boat enjoyed a successful career in open-sea sailing races before skippers Frederic Dahirel and Victorien Erussard and a French research institute converted it into the Energy Observer project.

      Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @04:01PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @04:01PM (#540358)

      but you know you can trust them if they are so trustworthy that they check to see if you're trying to protect your privacy! die dinosaur media die!

    • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Tuesday July 18, @12:30AM (2 children)

      by RS3 (6367) on Tuesday July 18, @12:30AM (#540661)

      The article is very short and the summary above covers it. I also use several ad/etc. blockers but it let me see the article. Which blocker that you use is blocking that site?

      Also I don't think the solar panels will survive Cape Horn.

      Why not?

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday July 18, @07:04PM (1 child)

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 18, @07:04PM (#541100)

        Adblock plus on chrome, nothing terribly interesting, kinda surprising I had trouble.

        Cape Horn is the roughest water out there, not fun. I suppose given an infinite amount of money and not being in any rush (6 years...) and being a long (aka fast) ship, you could "camp" until conditions are ideal then scoot thru. Supposedly a quarter of the people who try to climb Mt Everest die, trying to round the cape is not quite as deadly but people still make the comparison. Of course in an absolute sense the cape has probably killed far more people than mt Everest.

        They could use the canal and avoid the cape but there are nasty storms everywhere and nobody makes tornado shelters out of solar panels WRT durability. Although that is an interesting idea that if a hurricane proof solar panel could be made cheaply it would be useful to affix it to hurricane shelters...

        • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Wednesday July 19, @02:26AM

          by RS3 (6367) on Wednesday July 19, @02:26AM (#541280)

          Right now on this computer (I use several) using Vivaldi I have Privacy Badger, uBlock Origin, and uBlock Origin Extra. I have many more waiting in the wings: uMatrix when I'm feeling energetic and have time to kill, and a bunch of "Fair Ads" ones but disabled right now.

          Cape Horn might be fun, in an Everest climb kind of way. The PV boat looks pretty seaworthy to me. Looks like standard PV panels. Standard PV panels are pretty rugged- I've seen (crazy) people walk on them, and I and others certainly lay on them while reaching to tighten hold-down bolts on the other side.

          More and more thin film PVs are being used. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin-film_solar_cell [wikipedia.org] Often bonded to a "standing seam" metal roof, I could envision them bonded to boat roofs, decks, etc.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @06:02PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @06:02PM (#539954)

    They removed the masts and sails and instead take the circuitous and extremely ineffecient route of converting sunlight to electricity, store it in batteries, then drive an electromotor that drive a propellor. If you take in all the conversion rates, you end up with perhaps 5% of the original power input?

    Granted, wind is not always available (and there's always either too much or too little) but even in the 1500's they could sail around the world in 2-3 years. I can see this being used to supplement wind, but not replace it.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Whoever on Sunday July 16, @07:56PM

      by Whoever (4524) on Sunday July 16, @07:56PM (#539991)

      It produces its own hydrogen through electrolysis of sea water.

      They chose one of the most inefficient energy storage mechanisms. What's the point of this? To show that you can sail round the world using only renewable energy? I'm fairly confident that people proved that was possible a few hundred years ago.

      In fact, the winner of a recent single-handed round the world race (Vendee Globe) finished in only 74 days. They have electricity on board the Vendee Globe boats: generated by turbines running just aft of the boat in the water.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @08:08PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, @08:08PM (#539996)

      store it in batteries

      They're not using batteries. They're electrolyzing seawater to make hydrogen. It's in the summary.

      I can see this being used to supplement wind, but not replace it.

      Suppose Solar Impulse had used solar power to supplement a piston engine.

      • (Score: 2) by Whoever on Sunday July 16, @11:26PM (1 child)

        by Whoever (4524) on Sunday July 16, @11:26PM (#540078)

        They're not using batteries. They're electrolyzing seawater to make hydrogen.

        Less efficient than batteries. I assume the primary advantage of using hydrogen is lower weight.

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday July 18, @07:08PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 18, @07:08PM (#541103)

          too light to accumulate in the bilge and blow the ship to bits like gasoline sometimes does.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @01:10PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, @01:10PM (#540287)
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