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sailboat hydropower

Put small waterwheels on the side of sailboats
  (+1, -5)
(+1, -5)
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Rather than building large fixed offshore wind turbines, why not attach small waterwheels to wind-powered boats?

Both sailboats and small waterwheels are well-established technologies so why not just put them together - tap some of the power of the wind acting on the sail to turn a waterwheel attached to a generator. Store the power in batteries or electrolyze seawater and store the Hydrogen,

It's be potentially cheaper than the wind turbines because sails are a heck of a lot cheaper and the greater density of the water means you'd need a much smaller turbine for a given energy output.

Also, you could shift the boats around depending on where the wind was blowing and you wouldn't have to build them to ride out major storms at sea seeing as they could simply return to port.

Even if this isn't viable for power generation, it might have a niche market on sailboats to charge up their onboard batteries.

Iangould, Dec 12 2009

Existing art - Wind Energy wind_20energy
[MisterQED, Dec 12 2009]

water power... for sail boats http://cruisingresources.com/Water_Power
[ye_river_xiv, Dec 13 2009]

turbine sailboat http://www.treehugg...windmill_sailbo.php
[rocdoc, Dec 14 2009]


       Pretty much covered by another idea here (link).
MisterQED, Dec 12 2009

       Which, interestingly, got bunned. But not by me. The prime consideration when building a sailboat is minimising drag - this does this opposite. It's not that it won't work at all, just that no one will want it. HEP and tidal have a huge advantage over this system however you cut it.
wagster, Dec 13 2009

       Many sailboats already have a "waterwheel:"   

       Some boats have setups that allow their propellor to be turned by the waves, and crank a generator, either while at anchor, or when operating soley under wind power. Others have towed generators, or other setups. Indeed, such systems are not restricted to sail boats, although sail boats tend to find them more useful, as a little drag is often useful to steer with, and many sail boaters try to eschew excessive fuel use as a lifestyle choice.   

       The results have not been particularly promising as far as marketable energy is concerned. Solar power is beginning to crowd out the propellors, and I suspect that the less efficient waterwheel method is already a non-competitor.
ye_river_xiv, Dec 13 2009

       Wow - didn't know any of that!
wagster, Dec 13 2009

       Not the exact same thing but check this link out (turbine sailboat). Sail any direction with no need for tacking. Could also drive a generator.
rocdoc, Dec 14 2009

       As Captain Blackadder says to Captain Darling: This idea has more drag than General Melnick and Lt George clinging to the bottom of the raft over the river stix.
4whom, Dec 14 2009


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