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ROTARY SAIL PLATFORM: Computers cannot create, they can only crunch numbers fed into them by humans with ideas. Where creativity is a human thing (for now), simulations based on original thought give us a valuable development tool, prior to physical trials.


We aim to build a visually stunning vessel that is capable of demonstrating ocean clean tech and setting a few records into the bargain. The Elizabeth Swann is shown here with a wave piercing hull. She is of trimaran configuration, 44 meters long with active outrigger hulls (or sponsons) that allow the vessel to trim for very efficient running - the first in the world with that feature. She has solar wings that fold for storms and track the sun, and a wind turbine on a mast, that can be raised and furled in high winds, also robotically controlled. A genuine dual-energy harvesting system ideal for workboats and ferries. She will also feature electric jet drives, to further enhance performance.



A study by the European Parliament found that shipping will amount to 17% of total world CO2 emissions by 2050 if unchecked. The IMO responded with new green shipping targets that many fleet operators believe cannot be met. We beg to differ.


We are not the enemy of other alternative means to meet the IMO's targets, we are simply putting another viable method on the table, being adaptable ourselves, the key to the being to keep an open mind.


On the horizon, the concept of a fast blue-water, energy 'autonomous' vessel draws tantalizingly close. The Cleaner Ocean Foundation is looking to develop the considerable potential of what was seen for many years as being disruptive technology, but is now on the agenda of most naval architects. This is needed for the industry to be able to make informed choices as to what technology should replace their dirty diesel fleets.


At present fleet operators appear blinkered as to the prospects of harnessing solar energy from nature to meet Kyoto and Paris targets, since nobody is developing this tech in ernest. Yet, they watch the America's, Prada Cup yachts race across the Auckland coast at phenomenal speeds driven only by the wind, and see solar panels at work on rooftops every day. Wind turbines are also hard at work powering our homes and factories, again difficult not to see every day. The technology exists, but is ignored by the shipping world.


Elizabeth Swann solar wing sails version for near silent operation, save for wind noise


WING SAIL PLATFORM - A solar and wind powered ferry was built by Robert Dane in 2000, and operated in Sydney Harbour for a number of years. Many design houses are now considering sail assisted ships, some sail propelled with only motor assistance, such as the OceanBird from Wallenius. The design concept above significantly improves on the performance of the 'Solar Sailor' catamaran, being lighter, using more advanced batteries and solar panels, and being a more advanced trimaran hullform. The sails fold flat for docking and during storm conditions.



Marine autonomy has two meanings, one concerns energy for propulsion, the other means an unmanned ship, such as with IBM's Mayflower project, that is looking to cross the Atlantic (hopefully) in April 2021 without a crew. Fingers crossed!


The Elizabeth Swann need not be unmanned to improve on current zero emissions speed records, but will benefit from computer Artificial Intelligence in better route planning, relief for the crew and added safety at sea. She will be the first media-interactive AI robot boat in the world. We see this feature as a necessary function for long distance space travel (for example), and a nice touch for spreading the word on earth.



The Autonomous AI solar and wind powered ship Elizabeth Swann


WAVE PIERCING HULL - In this CAD drawing the simple cylindrical hull design we started with has been revised to further reduce weight, air & water drag. The outrigger sponsons are ride height adjustable with retractable hydrofoils and a proprietary drag reducing system (not shown) further reducing water resistance on the long thin central hull. The superstructure is a simple triangular space-frame in design, the most efficient (lightest) engineering structure to support the solar wings. We have utilized the space as effectively as we may to shoehorn in 4 cabins, a closed helm, a galley, open rear cockpit and flying bridge. Around 7 tons of lithium batteries are located in the main hull.



The general characteristics of the concept may be adapted for inland waterways, rivers, cross channel and inter-island-hopping transports, or luxury zero carbon yachting, as a stepping stone to cargo and cruise ships. As a research vehicle, data collected while operating on solar power alone, and then with the wind turbine in tandem, or wingsails, will be useful in terms of ZC, green shipping of the future, effectively a series of determinative experiments - and compilation of valuable data sets for naval architects of the future.


Solar and wind powered hybrids are again coming into the frame after many years in the doldrums - losing time that could have given us the clean ships we now seek, only sooner. If we are to return to the sustainable equilibrium of yesteryear, we need to meet climate and pollution challenges head on - and change the way we think, or we'll miss the Paris Treaty 1.5 degree target.




High performance hydrofoil hybrid


V-WING HYDROFOILS - Seeking to make the most of extant technology, In calmer seas with a following wind and the sun overhead, the Swann's cantilevered sponsons may be lifted out of the water, with V-foils lowered hydraulically for balancing purposes only. Small 4-point sailing craft benefit the most from using hydrofoils, overcoming their speed/length ratio restrictions as they take to the air, also achieving wind speed. Whereas, larger sailing craft may reach twice or even three times wind speed for long periods, dependent on conditions, sail area and AI routing. Commercial craft do not operate at high enough speeds to make hydrofoils worth the bother. They would just increase drag. It might though be worth considering balancing wings, to turn the trimaran into a virtual stabilized monohull, provided that the extra mass of the foil assembly did not counter any theoretical advantage.



For blue-water autonomy, a large solar panel area in relation to hull displacement is essential to generate sufficient energy (and reserves) for dependable transits. When the sun is not shining - and (for example) at night, a wind turbine supplements hull thrust.


The advantage of a moveable turbine (rotary sail) over conventional sails is vector angle conversion and the ability to store energy (over sails that must use the energy or lose it) where winds from dead-ahead and beam-on translate to forward thrust without the need to tack, and with onboard AI, there is no shading of solar panels. This is combined with a suitable hull Speed Length Ratio to even out wave troughs and peaks.


We progressed from clean cloth sails, to coal-fired steam-driven paddles, to diesel powered propellers and nuclear powered warships, in the process creating a pollution legacy that we now need to undo for the sake of the planet. We are not alone in that the United Nations boast sustainability agendas aimed at reversing the trend on land as well as on the water. Our work supports such goals, providing an alternative to exotic diesel fuels. But only if fleet and port operators are prepared to re-think operations creatively.


Naturally, they will only entertain such vision after seeing what is possible. Simulation only goes so far in the believing stakes.




200mm small scale model paper and cardboard copyright design


ROTARY SAILS - Small scale Elizabeth Swann development model @ 1:200 made of paper and cardboard in under 2 hours for just a few pence in paint and adhesive. This basic model floated perfectly, with the central hull submerged as designed. It is kept under lock and key, as a reminder that from little acorns, mighty oaks do grow. One of the key features of this design is the ability to sail directly into the wind, without the need to tack.





1:20 SCALE - The large model under construction, first in wood to check the working angles of the active sponsons, then in aluminium. Before any of these stages, an adjustable jig had to be built to ensure the alignment of the parts.


Plan view of the seating at the helm



INTERIOR DESIGN - As part of the design process, we need to accommodate a crew of between 4-6 during extended ocean trials. In autonomous mode a crew is not necessary, but during hull and system verification it is useful to be able to operate the Swann conventionally. There are two pilot positions, with a third seat for an engineering officer to be able to monitor ship systems during high (what we term warp) speed attempts.




Mayflower 100 foot trimaran solar and wind powered ship


AUTONOMOUS CONCEPT - A 100ft solar and wind powered research ship was announced by a consortium in Plymouth in 2016 with a crowd funding campaign to kick start the Mayflower project. The idea was to sail the Atlantic autonomously using wind and solar energy. In the end they had to settle for diesel propulsion, the real difficulty being complying with the IMO's COLREGS. This problem has been the subject of research for many years, since an autonomous circumnavigation was first suggested by a Bluebird Marine Systems engineer between 2012/13. Promare and IBM hope to attempt an unmanned Atlantic crossing this year. We have our fingers crossed for them.




The Elizabeth Swann is an extraordinary design, incorporating many innovative features, as a shining ray of hope for a world where our melting ice caps are restored and oceans might become acid free; once again full of healthy fisheries and happy marine mammals.


The Swann concept shares parts/technology commonality with the SeaVax ocean cleaning machines. Thus, the Swann project underpins development on that concept, but can be applied to any workboat requiring fuel autonomous endurance.


Join us if you will for a voyage into the nautical unknown where the Queen of the Seas is a zero carbon vessel that harvests all the energy it needs for propulsion - from nature. If the project is of interest to Corporations, Philanthropists or other Patrons, see our outline Business Plan. We will work with our partners to maximize this exciting opportunity beneficially.



Hydraulic power pack inside the Ford Transit van


FLUID POWER - The solar wings, sun tracking, and raising/ lowering of the wind-turbine mast is accomplished using rugged electro-hydraulic power packs, hydraulic rams and motors. This picture is of a real test rig from 2019, using proprietary (of the shelf) parts from our project supplier. The 24v motors may be replaced with brushless units of a higher voltage, where weight saving becomes critical.




SEAVAX - This ocean cleaning machine came from the Elizabeth Swann concept. The solar and wind harvesting platform is essentially the same in concept. The difference is that this machine is designed to filter plastic debris from rivers and the sea, like a giant vacuum cleaner, with the ability to intelligently differentiate between marine life and only recover debris. As far as we know, this is the only filtration system in the world that can do this - but it still needs development work -for which funding is a major problem where no country will take responsibility for the clean up cost. By working on the Swann, we are in effect furthering SeaVax, save for the filtration work packages. We invite third parties to take over the project from us if they have the resources to do so. We have exceeded our budget limitations. We will continue developing the energy platform via the Swann project.



Water test tank and wind machines


WATER BASIN - This compact unit re-circulates water using vanes and pumps that are placed in the tank for drag tests, and removed for other wave and wind handling experiments. The tank can be emptied and refilled in forty minutes. Twenty minutes for each transfer to and from an underground holding tank. This unit is ideal for low cost conceptualization, before detailed CFD, or other development.



Ryan Dusart, zero carbon advocate


YOUNG ENGINEER: Ryan Dusart from Eastbourne says: "I'm twelve at the moment, when I'm fifteen in 2023 I may be the youngest crew member of an attempt to beat the English Channel crossing record in a solar powered boat." Imagine that, setting a Guinness World Record. Ryan's mother is a Foundation Trustee and his aunt is a paramedic and RNLI volunteer. Ryan said: "I hope I can contribute as much as they do during my life, in combating climate change and saving lives. I'm helping to build the 1:20th model of the Elizabeth Swann seen above."





The next phase of development is to complete a 1:20 model for stability and floatation testing in our water basin (above). Note the fans to simulate cross winds in rough seas, where the Elizabeth Swann has a rotary sail and wings of considerable span that could generate significant roll for a hull that is unable to compensate for a harsh environment.


We already have a number of consortium members (CFD, Naval Architect, Stressing, Drives, Hydraulics), but are seeking additional partners (Hull fabrication, solar panels, batteries, shipboard robotics and Navigation AI). Please contact the Foundation with your interest.


The current solar powered record holder is the Tūranor PlanetSolar, seen below.





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