Interesting, a wind jammer for the 21st century

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The Norwegian Vindskip design from Lade AS uses a specially shaped hull to capture the wind and convert it into forward motion.

Natural gas fired Gas Turbines to get wind speed on the right ‘quarter’ and the combined wind speed provides a boost to get up to 60% fuel savings. All very well till you get in a real blow, it does look like it’ll be a bit of a handful in bad weather, it has big stabilizers like a sailing yacht so maybe it’ll work…anyway it’ll be a figment of computer simulation sthen tank testing for a few years yet.

1.2GW of offshore and onshore wind was installed last year

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1.2GW of offshore and onshore wind was installed last year

Read more: http://www.theengineer.co.uk/channels/skills-and-careers/in-depth/career-opportunities-in-offshore-renewables/1016243.article#ixzz2Ujjogygo

I drove up to my parents the other day via a route I had not taken for a year, along the route a new wind farm had sprung up, dozens of multi MW turbines, apparently most went in over a period of only a few months once the tracks cables and bases were in place. Several a week being finished off. Now the support crew is something like twenty full time maintainers. Not sure if this is really the hope of the industrial heartlands, it’s not bad but heatedly the sustained work the towns these behemoths rise near, need.

Same with the sea based units, though the ports the support vessels sail from will get more than the maintenance base of a land based array.

Cool solution to a real problem

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Wired Autopia Piece

Safe comfortable service offshore service craft are a very real need with the growth of offshore infrastructure. Bigger conventional hull forms hare being built but in reality bigger is not a good option for service craft. This is a traditionally, and rightly, conservative industry but its also one where big break throughs can ignite rapid change.

The proposed craft is what is generically called a SWATH( small waterplain hull) design, and the proposer has it right about the advantages. Though a SWATH is usually intended for best transit performance ( ride, efficiency, safety and speed) the proposed ability to change the ‘ride height’ is different, in line with some mored rigs ability to ballast down for best ‘ride’ in a particular area or sea state.

Regarding transit, I think the writer may have misunderstood the concept creator, fast ferries are generally catamarans and these days often SWATH or SWATHlike craft. I think the lower hulls would be brought up to some intermediate depth for high speed transit not retracted into a hull riding form, which is both rough riding and less efficient. Either that or there is some patent/IP gamesmanship going on…which would not be surprising.

China Aircraft Carrier / Navy needs proper context

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Wired and others have been nattering about the Chinese carrier, it’s nascent flight wing, how crappy the hardware is, how hard the job is, etc, etc. working to defuse the China threat they think is being blown up by the Pentagon and congressional hawks.

Look at the two pictures above, the time from first flight to rational threat back ‘in the day’ was a few years, the big gun guys were laughing the whole time. That Fighter struggling off the Lianoning is a threat today if need be, and you do not have to impress an admiral to be able to sink his fleet. No it’s no realistic threat today but don’t make the mistake of equating little with none, the US capability with the capability required to be a threat, or today with forever. The US CVN capability is essentially static or downtrend, China is on the edge of asymptotic rise, with a century and millions of man years of prior experience across the world to pull up on. As other articles in have discussed, what really is a CV in the 21st century? So how long could it be till a Chinese CV threat is more than a wild card? Not long is my estimate.

Electric Ships Go DC –> DC Helps Electric Ships (SAE Post)

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dc grid cuts cost, size of electric propulsion systems

11-Apr-2012 09:32 GMT

ABB’s dc grid trims the weight and size of the electrical system by nearly a third.

Norwegian ship owner Myklebusthaug Management plans to become the first company to employ a direct current (dc) power grid on board a ship. A 5000-ton (4535-t) offshore platform support vessel will deploy ABB’s Onboard DC Grid, which ABB says will improve efficiency and reduce emissions for ships with electrified propulsion.

In existing electrical propulsion vessels, more than 80% of electrical power consumption goes to thrusters and propulsion drives. They use dc connections derived from an alternating current circuit.

Rather than converting ac to dc, the Onboard DC Grid optimizes propulsion by distributing power through a single dc circuit, according to ABB. ABB predicts that once ship owners see the benefits of electric propulsion, dc grids will see rapid acceptance. Myklebusthaug Management’s 93-m (305-ft) oil field supply and construction vessel is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2013.

“We believe that by 2020, approximately 20% of ships will be electrified, and quite a bit of that will be dc,” said Heikki Soljama, head of ABB’s business unit marine.

One key reason the Onboard DC Grid saves power is that the ship’s engines no longer have to run at a fixed speed. Engine speeds can be adjusted to optimize fuel consumption.

At the same time, bulky transformers and switchboards can be eliminated, reducing the footprint and weight of the electrical system by up to 30%. The main ac switchboards and transformers are no longer needed.

However, ABB’s system extends the many dc-links used in all propulsion and thruster drives. That lets shipbuilders retain the dc generators, inverter modules, ac motors, and other proven products.

The grid can be used for any electrical ship application up to at least 20 MW. It operates at a nominal voltage of 1000-V dc. The power distribution can be arranged with all cabinets in a single lineup using a multidrive approach or it can be distributed throughout the vessel by short-circuit proof dc busbars. That gives designers more freedom for locating electric components, which can result in a more functional vessel layout.

Terry Costlow

Good synopsis of why DC and to some degree why electric…this is the future but as always the path is long and takes odd jaunts that will ‘drive men(proponents) mad.’