Solar Sailor Harnesses Both Wind and Solar Power

This is both very cool and very sensible. Not only that, but unlike many designs we see in solar sailing, this one has actually been successfully implemented in real life.

The Solar Sail is comprised of a unique rotating mounted airfoil. The joint is attached in such a way as to be able to angle to the sun and/or the wind to harness solar power and sail, folding away when not in use. It can be used either as a single sail or in multiples and is controlled by software that operates the sail automatically. The software tracks the sun for optimal solar and the wind for optimal sail power. Depending on weather conditions, these two sources are used simultaneously or singularly.

When both sun and wind are present together the sail has the ability to “motorsail” or “solarsail” – i.e. harness a positive feedback loop between true wind and relative wind increased using solar power.

The Solar Sail is engineered and DNV approved for 44 knots of wind with a 100% margin of safety.  Depending on conditions, it can offer a fuel savings of 5 to 100 percent. The average capital cost is equal to 10 to 15 percent of the cost of the vessel with a return on investment of 2 to 4 years depending on application.

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