Feb 23 2008
A 69 year old Ken-ichi Horie Attempts to ‘Wave Power’ His Way in to History
You hear about how a 69 year old guy is trying to set a world record by traveling from Hawaii to Japan in a ‘Wave Powered Boat’ and you feel that age is truly a number. I suppose you are only as old or in case of Horie, as young as you feel. This amazing ocean traveler is like the modern day Sindbad as he tries once again something that has been never tried before. This is the same guy that made a solo trip across the Pacific in 1999 on a catamaran made from recycled beer barrels.
The Japanese sailor is planning a solo 4,350 mile trip from Hawaii to Japan using the most advanced wave powered boat on the planet. If successful, the trip would earn him a Guinness record while simultaneously proving the viability of wave powered propulsion. His boat, the Suntory Mermaid II, turns wave energy into thrust using two fins mounted beneath the bow. These fins move up and down with the waves and use them to generate ‘kicks’ that propel the boat forward. Wave energy might not replace the conventional energy sources as of yet but it could be a very useful supplement.
Wave energy can be used by those who just like to spend some time of the ocean and just go beyond the horizon for a lovely trip. If time is not an issue then this is probably a very good choice. But the trip Ken will be on is no fun ferry and it will be a dangerous endeavor as he will have no fuel at his possession. The problem is that the new fangled technology will only manage to scrape together a top speed of 5 knots. Therefore, it will take about three months to achieve what a diesel powered boat can achieve in only one. Plus, all of the radios and electrical equipment are solar powered. So if it is a bad weather day and a problem hits the boat, then it can get pretty tricky. One wishes him luck on his tough journey and hopefully we will report the trips success come 3 months time.
Ken-ichi Horie, a 69 year old Japanese sailor, is planning a solo 4,350 mile trip from Hawaii to Japan using the most advanced wave powered boat on the planet. If successful, the trip would earn him a Guinness record while simultaneously proving the viability of wave powered propulsion. His boat, the Suntory Mermaid II, turns wave energy into thrust using two fins mounted beneath the bow. These fins move up and down with the waves and use them to generate "kicks" that propel the boat forward.
The problem is that all of that new fangled technology will only manage to scrape together a top speed of 5 knots. Therefore, it will take about three months to achieve what a diesel powered boat can achieve in only one. Plus, all of the radios and electrical equipment are solar powered. Sounds pretty dangerous, but this is the same dude that made a solo trip across the Pacific in 1999 on a catamaran made from recycled beer barrels. In other words, he's a rugged dude. [Popsci]
( 2.22.2008 )
A new propulsion system for boats ditches the diesel
This month, 69-year-old Japanese sailor Ken-ichi Horie will attempt to captain the world’s most advanced wave-powered boat 4,350 miles from Hawaii to Japan. If all goes as planned, he’ll set the first Guinness world record for the longest distance traveled by a wave-powered boat and, along the way, show off the greenest nautical propulsion system since the sail.
A simple spring system enables twin fins beneath the bow of the Suntory to move up and down with the incoming waves and pull the boat forward.
At the heart of the record-setting bid is the Suntory Mermaid II, a three-ton catamaran made of recycled aluminum alloy that turns wave energy into thrust. Two fins mounted side by side beneath the bow move up and down with the incoming waves and generate dolphin-like kicks that propel the boat forward. “Waves are a negative factor for a ship — they slow it down,” says Yutaka Terao, an engineering professor at Tokai University in Japan who designed the boat’s propulsion system. “But the Suntory can transform wave energy into propulsive power regardless of where the wave comes from.”
Horie’s latest adventure builds on a storied career of eco-sailing. In 1993 he pedaled a boat 4,660 miles, from Hawaii to Okinawa, setting a world record for the longest distance traveled by a pedal-powered boat.
In 1996 he set the world record for the fastest crossing of the Pacific Ocean in a solar-powered boat. And in 1999, he made a solo trip across the Pacific in a catamaran made from recycled beer barrels.
With a maximum speed of five knots, the Suntory will take two to three months to complete a voyage that diesel-powered craft accomplish in just one. But speed is not the point. The voyage aims to prove that wave propulsion can work under real-world conditions, opening up the technology for commercial applications such as cargo shipping. “Oil is a limited power source,” Horie says, “but there is no limit to waves.”
How to Ride Waves Across the Pacific
Electricity -- A set of eight solar panels produces 560 watts to run the navigation lights, ham radio, satellite phone and PC.
Propulsion -- Dual fins set in a side-by-side configuration beneath the bow convert wave energy into a dolphin-like kick that can propel the three-ton boat at five knots.
Stability -- The fins absorb energy from the rocking of the boat to help make the propulsion more efficient.
Hull -- The outer hull, only three millimeters thick, is made of a durable recycled-aluminum alloy.
Outboard Motor -- Reserved for extreme emergencies.
Popular Science (April 1935)
"Wave Power Runs Model Boat"
Using the power of the waves to drive a stationary power plant has been proposed before, but it remained for a Long Beach CA inventor to design a wave-operated mechanism to propel a boat. Models used to try out the odd principle are reported to have shown surprising speed in tests, one miniature 18-inch craft attaining a pace of 5 miles an hour. Similar gear, the inventor suggests, could be applied to any full-sized craft, and could be attached or removed at will. The equipment comprises three fins attached to flexible joints, which are set vibrating by the slightest motion of the water, and are interconnected in such a way that they transform the vertical movement of the waves into impulses that drive the boat forward.
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Popular Science (Oct, 1939)
Fishtail Drive PROPELS BOATS and MODEL PLANES
FOR ten years, Arthur D. Hill, Jr., a California commercial fisherman, has been observing and studying how the vibrating tails of fish enable them to dart through the water at great speeds. He also noted that birds, with their flapping wings, were still more efficient in flight than the most modern of airplanes with fixed wings. Puzzling out the principles involved, Hill determined to combine the methods of bird and fish, and he has finally developed an odd fishtail drive for Propelling model airplanes, and boats ranging from toy craft up to vessels thirty-five feet in length. On tiny boats having a single rudder, Hill’s fishtail mechanism is vibrated back and forth by means of an ordinary door-bell buzzer, powered by two dry-cell batteries. By reversing the rudder, the flutterings cause the craft to move backward. Dry-cell batteries also power the vibrating wings of Hill’s model airplane, shown in the photograph above. When suspended from the ceiling on a string, the little ship whirls around a circular course, its wings whirring so rapidly that they become invisible. For rowboat and canoe use, the inventor connects his fishtail propellers to handles, which the operator pumps up and down. This is said to drive the boat forward three feet for every foot the power device moves. On small toy boats and planes, such as shown in the accompanying illustrations, the fishtail drives are made of wood and silk, while for the larger craft airplane linen covered with creosote is used.
A WAVE ENERGY PROPULSION DEVICE
Abstract -- A wave energy propulsion device for converting wave energy into mechanical energy may be utilized for electricity generation, booster propulsion or seawater desalination. The wave energy propulsion device includes a float (1; 10; 1000), a lift connecting-rod mechanism (2) and a propeller (3; 30; 3000), the float (1; 10; 1000) and the propeller (3; 30; 3000) are provided respectively on the upper and lower ends of the lift connecting-rod mechanism (2), the propeller (3; 30; 3000) includes a boxlike main body which is composed of left and right side walls (31, 32; 301) and cross links (30; 302) between them, the horizontal projections of the left and right side walls (31, 32; 301) are linear, the cross link (30; 302) is spanned fixedly between the left and right side walls (31, 32; 301), the main body has a forward opening (A), a rearward opening (B), an upward opening (C) and a downward opening (D), several tilting blades (33; 303) are pivotally installed on the main body, the tilting blades (33; 303) are composed of foils (331) and horizontal axes(332; 304), the axes (332; 304) are spanned between the left and right side walls (31, 32; 301), the foils (331) tilt up and down around the axes (332; 304), each blade (33; 303) is equipped with a limitation mechanism for limiting the upper and lower tilting amplitude (H1, H2) of the back end of the tilting blade (33; 303) to make the upper and lower tilting amplitude (H1, H2) less than the end tilting length (L1) of the tilting blade (33; 303). Preferably the lift connecting-rod mechanism (2) includes two connecting rods (20; 2000) perpendicular to the horizontal plane and a transmission mechanism. Further preferably the transmission mechanism includes a front linkage (4000) and a rear linkage (5000), one end of the front linkage (4000) is fixed on the front end of the float (1000), the other end of that is fixed on the front end of the main body of the propeller (3000), whereas one end of the rear linkage (5000) is fixed on the rear end of the float (1000), the other end of that is fixed on the rear end of the main body of the propeller (3000).