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The Clean Queen of the Seas, Elizabeth Swann


CAD DIAGRAM: The Elizabeth Swann is shown here with a wave piercing hull. She is of trimaran configuration 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. She will also feature electric jet drives, to further enhance performance.



Amid the IMO's 'dash' to green shipping, the concept of a fast blue-water, autonomous vessel draws tantalizingly close. The Cleaner Ocean Foundation is looking to develop the considerable potential of this disruptive technology. 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 in 2021.



Mayflower 100 foot trimaran solar and wind powered ship


AUTONOMOUS CONCEPT - A 100ft solar and wind powered research ship was announced in 2016 with a crowdfunding campaign to kick start the Mayflower project. The idea was to sail the Atlantic autonomously. The difficulty being complying with the IMO's COLREGS.



The Elizabeth Swann need not be unmanned to improve on current 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).


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 wind turbine in tandem, 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. 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.


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, 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 creaing 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. 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.




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 oak 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 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.




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.


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 electro-hydraulic power packs, hydraulic rams and motors. This picture is of a real test rig from 2019.




SEAVAX - This ocean cleaning machine came from the Elizabeth Swann concept. The solar and wind harvesting platform is the same. The difference is that this machine is designed to filter plastic debris from the sea, like a giant vacuum cleaner.





With the help of an engineering student from Belgium, the Foundation funded the development of a test rig designed to improve knowledge of the proposed wind turbine mast and folding solar wings. A humble Ford Transit was the donor vehicle.



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 auntie 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 below."





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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