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Renewable Hydrogen Production Using Sailing Ships

[+] Author Affiliations
Max F. Platzer, Nesrin Sarigul-Klijn

University of California Davis, Davis, CA

J. Young, M. A. Ashraf, J. C. S. Lai

The University of New South Wales, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Paper No. IMECE2011-62311, pp. 1119-1125; 7 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 4: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; Combustion Science and Engineering; Nanoengineering for Energy, Parts A and B
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5490-7
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Vast ocean areas of planet Earth are exposed year-round to strong wind currents. We suggest that this untapped ocean wind power be exploited by the use of sailing ships. The availability of constantly updated meteorological information makes it possible to operate the ships in ocean areas with optimum wind power so that the propulsive ship power can be converted into electric power by means of ship-mounted hydro-power generators. Their electric power output then is fed into ship-mounted electrolyzers to convert sea water into hydrogen and oxygen. In this paper we estimate the ship size, sail area and generator size to produce a 1.5 MW electrical power output. We describe a new oscillating-wing hydro-power generator and present results of model tests obtained in a towing tank. Navier-Stokes computations are presented to provide an estimate of the power extraction efficiency and drag coefficient of such a generator which depends on a range of parameters such as foil maximum pitch angles, plunge amplitude, phase between pitch and plunge and load. Also, we present a discussion of the feasibility of sea water electrolysis and of the re-conversion of hydrogen and oxygen into electricity by means of shore-based hydrogen-oxygen power plants.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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