Imagine a sailing vessel meeting energy needs through regenerative power.

By combining technologies from the 19th and 21st centuries—skipping over the petroleum era—Matthew Turner will become a unique teaching tool that can inspire appreciation for past boat building designs while utilizing innovative technology solutions to construct a truly green sailing ship.

The basic regenerative electric propulsion concept is simple. Instead of diesel engines, the ship is propelled by AC electric motors directly connected to the propeller shafts and drawing energy from large battery banks. When the ship is sailing, the energy of the passing water causes the propellers to rotate, which, in turn, causes the electric motors to become generators that re-charge the batteries onboard. Significant electrical energy is created as sailing speeds increase.

New advances in propellers, electric propulsion/regeneration motors, battery technologies and electronic controllers make this possible and are available today.

Matthew Turner can, in fact, operate on a carbon-neutral basis. Energy to run our ship will come from regenerative power under sail, which can be fueled with bio-fuel, and dockside charging from solar panels and wind generators. The dockside solar will be facilitated by the US Army Corps of Engineers at their Bay Model facility, which has recently been outfitted with a rooftop solar array that generates 540 kW/h.

Day-to-day operations are designed to minimize energy and water use with a waste management system that will repurpose, recycle and reduce waste. By using LED lighting, induction cooking and low energy navigation and appliances, the Matthew Turner will use less than 50kWh per day. The vessel can produce enough clean energy in a day of sailing to sustain the vessel’s needs.

HybriGen Benefits:

  • Power is delivered on-demand to support propulsion or auxiliary power, or both simultaneously
  • Variable speed genset and lithium-ion battery banks eliminate under-loading of the engine and wasted fuel
  • Reduced operating time of diesel generators also allows for reduced maintenance
  • Electric traction motors and batteries allow for completely silent and emission-free cruising
  • Flexible, tablet-based diagnostics and control system allows for powerful, yet easy-to-use system operations and monitoring
  • Isolated propulsion system in each demihull provides complete redundancy

Read more about BAE’s HybriGen Power and Propulsion here