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Wave-powered ship ready to take maiden voyage

water2.jpgHere’s an idea that at once so screamingly obvious and yet so astounding brilliant, Greenbang is surprised no one’s come up with this before. Wait for it, wait for it… it’s a wave powered ship! I know – you’re thinking that invention is even better than the George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Reducing Machine.

The wave powered ship, called the Suntory Mermaid II, has been built by the Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Company for the solo sailor Kenichi Horie. Horie will skipper the boat from Honolulu’s Hawaii Yacht Club across about 6,000 kilometers of ocean to the the Kii Channel. He’s off some time in mid May this year, apparently.

Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Company has handily provided an explanation of how it all works for the technologically curious:

Wave powered boats feature fins at the front of the craft, which generate thrust force by moving up and down like the tails of dolphins and whales and absorbing the energy of the waves. The only researcher of this type of craft, professor Hiroshi Terao of Tokai University’s oceanography department, cooperated with this project. Because the fins absorb energy from the pitching motion of the boat, the pitching decreases and the boat’s stability is improved. Under normal use the sole power source is wave energy, but the boat can also use sails or an outboard motor when entering or leaving harbor, or in case of emergencies. While cruising, the outboard motor and sails will not be used.

And that’s not all – the hull is made of recycled aluminium and on-board energy comes from solar cells. Wow.

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