In the last few decades, climate change and its disastrous effects has become an undeniable fact of life. As a result, there has been an international clamor for energy efficiency in all industries and areas, and boat design in particular has gained worldwide attention.
Why Boat Design?
Much of today’s trade of physical goods is done through shipping, and virtually all cargo ships large and small use engines that rely on fossil fuels. Together they consume vast amounts of fuel, which contribute to the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere and all its adverse effects.
Numerous studies and experiments have been made in efforts to eventually reduce the shipping industry’s reliance on fossil fuels. So far, advancements in solar, wind, and sail technology has been promising.
In addition, much interest has been directed towards the boat designs themselves, to find which hull shapes and configurations are best suited for energy efficient travel over rough seas. From what can be seen today, it is clear that the vessels of the future will look quite different from the vessels of the present.
Direct Application of Known Technologies for Efficient Boat Design
Today, a particular worldwide competition is poised to push both energy efficiency and boat design even further through direct application of known technologies. The HYDROcontest is a remote-control foiling boat contest that tests new energy-efficient boat design technologies against each other.
The HYDROcontest is participated in design teams from by universities all over the world, and it aims to advance research and innovation through three specific challenges:
- The design of heavyweight remote-controlled transport vessels that must race with 200 kg of load,
- The design of a lightweight remote-controlled race vessel, carrying 20kg of load, and
- A long-distance race to find the most energy efficient vessel design.
Team AMCAT and their Quest
Team AMCAT, a team from the Australian Maritime College, had a very successful stint on the inaugural HYDROcontest in 2014. They designed a hydro-foiling catamaran that won the Best Design Award in last year’s lightweight category.
Today, Team AMCAT is using the data and experience from last year to develop even more innovative, energy efficient boats to shape the vessels of the future.
Team AMCAT is currently in need of additional sponsors to fund their studies and designs for this year’s HYDROcontest. To date, they have less than $1,000 of pledges to raise before they get funded by Kickstarter.com.
For more information on Team AMCAT and their quest towards energy efficiency in boating and shipping, and to support their worthy cause on Kickstarter, visit their campaign website here.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.