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Old 09-19-2010, 01:30 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,936 posts, read 22,211,257 times
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It's entirely doable, to build modern, large, wind propelled vessels. It will only take someone thinking outside the box the oil industry has built.
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,690 posts, read 89,009,754 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissingAll4Seasons View Post
But I'm saying flip that around... wind primary, fuel supplemental.
Yes I know what you're saying, and I already responded to it.
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
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I think that many people get stuck thinking of all the reasons why something won't work that they don't try very hard or give up before they really even start. The obstacles are known, which is a great place to start. Changing the mind-set from "it can't be done, why bother" to "it can be done, we just have to figure it out" is all that's needed most times.

Double-checking your assumptions is also helpful... like it's better to burn fuel slower on a big ship. Why? Maybe it's better or just as effective to have more smaller ships that are primarily wind-driven and travel a little faster. It's entirely possible that you'd use the same or less resources for a larger fleet of smaller ships. Something the size of a galleon could easily handle a dozen or more shipping containers and some heavy equipment and would still be faster than an ultra-slow diesel barge. More of them would also allow for a staggered shipping schedule... one smaller boat leaving every day gives more flexibility than a big boat that waits all week to fill up before casting off.

But unless someone tries, or at least runs the numbers without the assumption that it is destined to fail, then we'll never know whether it's possible or not.
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Old 09-19-2010, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,690 posts, read 89,009,754 times
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Economies of scale. 'Nuff said. And powered ships still get to plot their own course and largely determine their own schedules instead of having the wind determine it for them. But hey, start a shipping company and try it out.
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Old 09-19-2010, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
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And say you have a boat with a huge sail... what's stopping you from making that sail from PV fabric? Then you would also have the use of electrical power for motors and stabilizers instead of needing to rely so heavily on fossil fuel engines.

We have so many advances in technology that the limitations of our predecessors may no longer apply, or at least we have more options to work around them if we gave it half a thought. Instead of just trying to save fuel in old tech, why don't we see if we can elimnate or reduce the necessity for it with new tech?
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Old 09-19-2010, 02:05 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,613,009 times
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Economies of Scale --- Law of Diminishing Returns. Bigger is not always better, things can become too big to be efficient, happens all the time.

It all becomes moot when the scale can only be supported by a resource that is increasingly difficult and expensive to acquire. At which point, one will eventually need to accept the scale at which you can afford to do something sustainably without sacrificing too much efficiency or performance.
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Old 09-19-2010, 02:11 PM
 
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The laws of business dictates that if these vessels take longer to deliver, it also better be cheaper... if not, the ships are the weakest link and will be forced to either go faster or slash their prices... I suspect if time is important, the slow streaming method won't last for long (it may last while the recession is going on, since nobody is buying)...
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Old 09-19-2010, 02:48 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,936 posts, read 22,211,257 times
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Rotor ship - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Seems to me they could be improved upon some today...
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Old 09-19-2010, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
14,095 posts, read 23,629,645 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissingAll4Seasons View Post
But I'm saying flip that around... wind primary, fuel supplemental.
It would take hurricane strength winds to get the ship to begin to move. The weight of the ship and cargo as well as the depth of the ship below the water makes what you propose impossible. My Navy ship was a helicopter carrier. Nearly half the ship was below the waterline. Fully loaded cargo ships are more than half below the waterline.
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Old 09-19-2010, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
14,095 posts, read 23,629,645 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissingAll4Seasons View Post
And say you have a boat with a huge sail... what's stopping you from making that sail from PV fabric? Then you would also have the use of electrical power for motors and stabilizers instead of needing to rely so heavily on fossil fuel engines.

We have so many advances in technology that the limitations of our predecessors may no longer apply, or at least we have more options to work around them if we gave it half a thought. Instead of just trying to save fuel in old tech, why don't we see if we can elimnate or reduce the necessity for it with new tech?
That would not be enough to run a ship. The ships I served on were steam powered with diesel fuel to power the boilers. We had steam turbine generators. Some ships have switched to gas turbine generators. Large ships use plenty of electricity for things like electric motor pumps (fuel, fire fighting water, ballast pumps, etc), heating/cooling systems, and other electrical/electronic equipment like radars. A combination of wind turbine and PV would help but those things would also add weight and wind resistance, especially in high winds and rough seas. You don't want such items on the ship catching the wind in a storm. On cargo ships, the largest area of the ship is taken up by cargo containers . You'd have to put the PV on a tarp that covers all the cargo containers to get any useful juice to make up the cost of the tarp. If the ship is steam powered, it's just not worth the effort. The steam used in the engines and generators also goes to steam powered pumps and boiler blowers before the used steam is recovered as condensate and returned to the boiler. Steam turbine generators take time to restart if cold. It's best to keep them running instead of turning them off.
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