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Vertical Wind Turbine Sail Boat Concept

  1. Jul 15, 2010 #1
    Im new to the forum, i joined to ask a question about a boat Ive been obsessing about for awhile. My idea is an aluminum sail boat (27-40') that has its mast removed and replaced with say a 3-4kw vertical wind generator (350lb) i know that's a bit heavy but im sure the wind forces are substantial as well. Along with the turbine the boat would also be covered in solar panels and a med sized foldout array up at the bow with a light sensor to follow the sun. in addition to the solar panels and turbine id have a small generator for a series type hybrid setup, all of this of course charging a set of two very large battery banks. Now that i gave you an idea of what im thinking of, my question is - Without the generator and solar panels would the vertical turbine power/charge the sail boat in high/medium winds such as normal sails? and i don't mean at the same speed just able to move along... another concern is that the boat would want to rotate because of the spinning turbine? a positive aspect i thought would be a gyroscopic stabilizing effect from the spinning vertical wind turbine. Sorry to write so much but im tired of thinking about this project and id like someone to tell me if its feasible.

    Mr. Grabowski
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 15, 2010 #2
    have ya'll seem this
    very neat solar boat

    http://www.planetsolar.org/bateau.en.php [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Jul 15, 2010 #3
    Yes i have, thank you.
  5. Jul 15, 2010 #4
    Interesting concept. You ask whether it is feasible, that depends on what your measure of feasibility is. Could it work and propel itself via wind and solar? I'd say yes. Would it be a profitable venture to design, build and sell? Doubtful. My guess is that a sail would work better for propulsion, and the Graboski would be one of a kind. (why an aluminum boat?) It's certainly worth a try though, I say go for it. S
  6. Jul 15, 2010 #5
    Thanks for your interest. I have built a few things with the idea of "Alternative'' propulsion and i simply like to go against the grain. I'm not very experienced with electronics thus why im here. I guess my basic question is - Would a 120v / 240v - 5000 watt Vertical wind turbine be able to charge battery bank #1 before the relatively small electric car motor has discharged 50% of battery bank #2 ? Why alum? well fiber glass id think would be to weak to support a rotating 350lb 10' structure. while aluminum is light, you can weld/bolt anywhere and last as long if not longer then steel.

  7. Jul 16, 2010 #6
    Not well versed on electronics myself, maybe in the electrical engineering section you'd get some response. Wind turbines seem to be very popular right now, you may find everything you need on a vendors website, or compare a few. Speaking of against the grain, can you sail this hypothetical boat into the wind or only downwind? Would it go faster downwind or upwind? Maybe crosswind would be best?

    Aluminum would be good but it's going to cost quite a bit more, fiberglass is easily reinforced where needed and could do the job, but I'm not a huge fan of fiberglass either.
  8. Jul 16, 2010 #7
    The electric motor is using battery bank #1 while #2 is being charged by the vert turbine/solar/gas-gen. What you are asking is i think called a series hybrid setup where the turbine is directly sending power to the engine, so up wind it should theoretically be neutral because there's more wind being exerted on the turbine thus more power for the motor, but at the same time its going into the wind thus requiring more power. Down wind id think it would go faster because the wind is kind of helping the vessel along.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  9. Jul 17, 2010 #8
    You probably want to do a couple of calculations to see a) how much power you can get from various sources b) how much power you need

    To move a 30 foot boat at reasonable speed you probably need around 20 hp to 40 hp maybe, that's around 1.5 to 3.0 kW. Can your turbine and solar panels supply that much power on average?

    You see sailboats that size pushed along by a 5 hp or 10 hp outboard but it's pretty slow going.
  10. Jul 17, 2010 #9
    sailboats do not require more then say 15hp because they can only reach a certain speed because of there design. there is a motor called a torqeedo its an electric 9.9hp outboard and it was used in its testing to power a 40 foot sail boat at normal speeds
  11. Jul 17, 2010 #10
    I don't beleive that 10-15 hp is enough for a 40 foot boat, but that's my opinion. There is software that can help you determine the power needed for various speeds. Might be worth a look for free software.
  12. Jul 18, 2010 #11
    There have been many designs and patents for vertical axis wind turbine driven boats and ships. Some quite large. Some have reached construction stage.

    The vertical rotor has the advantage of being independant of wind direction. You have, as you realise, to solve the question of the slewing moment. As with helicopters on solution is contra rotating rotors.

    Good luck with your project.
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