A very interesting concept for energy production came up at the University of Regensburg in Germany. The idea is that sailing boats are used to produce electricity which is stored in form of hydrogen. Until now it is still under consideration and research but it might come up in some years.
All of the technologies are developed and therefore can be used right now. The idea came from Michael Steiner from the University of Regensburg. He wants to add a turbine which powers a generator to the sailing boat. The produced electricity will be stored on the boat while using the technology PtG (Power to Gas).
The PtG-process is basically divided into two processes. In the first step hyrodgen is produced with the electrolysis of water. To be able to use the hydrogen in a gas network it has to be combined with CO2. In this process methane is produced which can be then pumped into the gas network on land.
It was calculated that the ship should have a size between 60 - 100m. Unfortunately this technology can most probably not be installed on tanker ships as they have to keep their times on their schedules. Therefore new ships have to be built which focus entirely on the energy production itself.
It is estimated that the cost for producing such a ship will be between 8-40 million euros (each) depending on the size of the boat and the desired power-output.
The output of the ship is dependent of the duration of the journey. One example given by the website is that a journey of a 2MW ships for three months time the boat could produce 1,2 TWh (which is around 120.000 liter of petrol.
Depending on the wind speed the boat is estimated to come up with a speed of 3-10 m/s (or to put it into the information of sailors: ~6 to 20 knots).This does not sound like to be very fast, but it is. As my parents have a boat and I like to go sailing with a hobie cat I know that these figures are quite high.
Furthermore these boats have to have a crew which keep the boat staying in the best wind conditions. They think about different types of boats. The first one is a normal sailing boat which has the additions of a generator and a turbine. The output of this type is quite small. Another option is the kite which is already in use by some ships. This kite will be put into the air and the tanker decreases its fuel consumption drastically.
The third type uses the so called Flattner-rotor. This rotor is based on the Magnus-effect. Here the wind turns the turbine and produces as well a driving force across the wind direction. These types have a high efficiency but still need to have some research.
There are certain areas available on the ocean which have a high potential and constant wind speeds. This is the north of the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. These regions
Some other interesting facts about these ships:
Power output: 500 kW - 5 MW
Workload around 7000 h/a
This technology seems to be quite interesting and I would like to see this technology to get into the market. As there are persons needed for sailing/operating the boat it would be a good possibility to combine interest and job.