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Project for sailing vessels to maneuver in ports using electric energy from wind
Date:5/11/2010

The car is not the only vehicle that can be propelled electrically. Lecturers at the Higher Nautical and Naval Engineering Technical School, Mikel Lejarza, Jose Ignacio Uriarte, Miguel ngel Gmez Solaetxe and Juan Luis Larrabe are part of a research team working on an innovative project: to have a sailing boat that can undertake port manoeuvres (such as mooring and unmooring) using electric energy obtained from the movement of the wind in their sails when sailing and thus reduce the use of fuel and the emission of waste and noise. Having the research skills in this field, they are working against the clock, given that their goal is to have the prototype operational in two years.

As Juan Luis Larrabe explained, the idea is for such vessels to take advantage of the energy from the wind movement in order to generate electricity: "The wind energy is gathered in the sails and the propeller operates as a turbine. This turbine is connected to an electric generator which charges up electric batteries in such a way that, when you want to propel the vessel and there is no wind, you can use this stored energy while avoiding using the internal combustion engine". It is a hybrid model and not exclusively electrical (the latter would mean reduced operational range, apart from the fact that the great volume of batteries required today would make it unviable). "You still have to have the traditional engines on board, but the idea is to use them as little as possible", explained Mr Larrabe.

Saltillo sail ship as a trial vessel

All the prototype equipment will be on board the Saltillo, a vessel belonging to the University of the Basque Country itself and with its base in the port of Santurtzi. It is 24m in length and has a displacement of 80 tons. They began the project in 2008, with funding from the Saiotek programme of the Basque Government Development Agency (SPRI), and which has financed the project in the last months of 2008 and all
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Contact: Amaia Portugal
a.portugal@elhuyar.com
34-943-363-040
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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