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A wind-assisted public ferry

News International-French

17 Sep 2014

Wind+Wing Technologies and Photon Composites are developing a wing and wind-assisted passenger ferry for public use in San Francisco.

Using the lessons learned during the Windjet / Greenbird project, Photon Composites has created a wing system for wind assist propulsion of commercial shipping. The wing is made out of carbon fiber, and it is completely powered by a small photo-voltaic cell on the side of the wing.

The Greenbird Wing Power System could be used as a sole means of propulsion on slow platforms, but is designed to be most effective when combined with a powered vessel to provide auxiliary propulsion. Harnessing any crosswind component of the apparent wind, the greenbird wing autonomously provides additional propulsion, resulting in considerable fuel savings. Calculations predict 20-40% savings are possible in the case of fast passenger ferries in San Francisco bay.

The fully autonomous wing system is simply turned on or off with a switch on the bridge. In the OFF, or 'feather' mode the wing is low drag and will not affect the vessel's maneuverability or handling characteristics. In ON or 'power mode', the wing will automatically trim itself to make best use of the available wind, regardless of the vessels heading or speed.

A prototype 45' wing, pictured above is currently being evaluated by Wind and Wing Technologies and Berkeley University to assess its potential impact on Bay Area ferries.

The Greenbird wing power system from Photon Composites Inc is Patent Pending.

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