Monday, January 10, 2011

Offshore Wind Farms are expensive to reach

Now that we are endowed with offshore wind farms as a source of energy generation, it would seem logical to look at the cost to access and repair the remote structures involved. It is a curiosity that we do this using the same old fuel hungry ships we have used for many years. How much of the 'free' energy produced by the wind farm is offset by the service fleet required to install and maintain the offshore towers? We may have cleaned up the exhausts and other emmissions but the workboat hull forms we use are still relatively inefficient when compared to say bulk carriers on long passages. The latest trendy catamarans may appear to be good working platforms but they are really no more economic than a monohull when it comes to fuel efficiency.

OK, so here comes the plug. Let us look at the surface effect ship for this application. There is a lot of experience using this type of craft for offshore service work especially in the Gulf of Mexico and other oil fields. Low resistance makes these craft very fuel efficient (40% better then a monohull) and the twin hulls are a superb working platform. We are not looking for big loads to carry or long ranges and bad weather makes offshore structures inaccessible to monohulls and catamarans just as much as any other vessel. So come on let's look at the whole picture when it comes to cheap energy and consider the boats we use. Diesel won't be getting any cheaper in the future, so contact a naval architect with experience in the design, construction and operation of surface effect ships for the real numbers on through life cost reductions.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hovercraft help for flooded Pakistan

Continuing on with the disaster 'how can we make a big contribution' theme, I have recently been in conversation with the owner of the ex-Hoverspeed SRN4 hovercraft.

I believe these massive amphibious vehicles would make a significant impact on the rescue efforts in Pakistan. They are virtually rescue 'islands'. Their large car decks could carry a huge amount of supplies, fuel , water makers, power generation and casualty evacuation. Instead of winching up a dozen people at a time in a helicopter, the SRN4 would allow 400 people to walk straight on.

Being amphibious the SRN4 can move freely about the flooded landscape at speeds that would allow many round trips in a day.

It would need a government department, NGO or wealthy individual to get these back in service and on site but I feel the effort would be extremely worthwhile.

If anyone reads this and wants to get this going please let me know and I will offer my technical know how and influence with the owner free of charge.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A safer ferry boat

I was appalled by the tragic loss of life in the recent ferry disasters in the Far East. It seems that ferry capsizes are common place especially in the monsoon seasons.
As a Naval Architect, I would desperately like to help by designing a safer passenger vessel.
If there is anyone in a position to get a project started please contact me.
I am sure we can build a cheap, safe and robust vessel to reduce this unnecessary loss of life.