Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Interesting Possibilites for the US Navy

Wallenius Wilhelmson unveils a plan to build a solar, wind and tidal powered ship capable of transporting 10,000 cars from Britain to New Zealand.

The futuristic 'Orcelle' may be the first ship to use sun, wind and waves to propel its payload across oceans using renewable energy. A model of the ship is to be displayed at the World Trade Fair in Aichi, Japan in February 2005.

A spokesman for the Scandinavian company said: "This will be the first truly environmentally friendly ship, protecting the atmosphere and marine species". They have around 60 modern vessels that together carry 17 million vehicles a year by sea.820 feet long 'Orcelle' is shorter than the Queen Mary 2 (1,132ft) and the QE2 (963ft). The ship is called the E/S Orcelle after the Orcelle Dolphin - the French word for Irrawaddy dolphin, one of the world's most critically endangered species. The E/S stands for "environmentally sound ship". The vessel will include a cargo deck the size of 14 football pitches.

Wave energy is to be harnessed by 12 dolphin like fins an the ships hull. While, sun and wind energy is collected by three giant rigid wingsails, also covered in solar panels.

The cruise speed is in the region of 15 knots. Stability is provided by the shape of the Pentamaran hull - a slim monohull that will have two smaller support hulls know as sponsons on each side. You may recognise this layout as a Trimaran, or stabilised monohull (see Solar Navigator) in that there are essentially, three hull components in contact with the water.


This is an interesting idea, the difference between this post and my last post is this: The navy is actually investing in electric warships, the biggest program being the DDX advanced destroyer. Technolgies like this could also have an impact on saving fuel for amphibous transport ships. My question of course is this: Why isn't the military investing in technology like this? Especially with the recent gains in making solar cells more amorphous. Definition of amorphous;
Lacking definite form; shapeless.
Of no particular type; anomalous.
Lacking organization; formless.
Lacking distinct crystalline structure.

Not to mention the gains in wind power and tidal power infrastructure and technology. I think the potential of a renewably electric warship could be enourmous. It would be the perfect mix of sustainability and flexibility. Of course these ships would have to have huge batteries, but just think of it in this way: We develop small unmanned surface vessels that are electric these vessels could recharge at the bigger vessels and form a ring around carrier or amphibous battle groups to protect against terrorists using small boat swarm tactics. This ship would also be able to use different directed energy platforms; such as electro-magnetic or electro-chemical guns. The main difference between the current DDX design and my design is that it would be sustainable. Another possibility with this renewable energy is electro-magnetic armor for the ship when threats such as missiles or gunfire draw near. Depending on how big the battery is, the potentials are unlimited. I think we as Americans should start lobbying congress to fund projects like these and use our taxpayer money more wisely.

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