Rig Schematic Design Summary
At the core of the Greenheart Project is a new idea for a small ship: one that combines reliable, universal sails with a simple and proven solar panel / storage battery / DC electric drive. The present state of the technology prevents the application of this type of hybrid system to larger ships, but a one-container vessel
that sails well, can use electric motors to approach and exit harbors, navigate in restricted waters, provide additional speed and steerage at sea, and reach inland ports via canals and rivers. The obvious and most pressing application for a small ship with these features is as an appropriate development tool for impoverished coastal communities. With these end users in mind, we have designed a vessel with three basic criteria: Simplicity, Economy, and Low-impact.
By deliberately avoiding new- and high-tech components in favor of time-tested and readily available technologies, we have designed a ship that is reliable, and easy to operate, maintain, and repair. Sailing rigs and sail handling have been simplified greatly since the days when tall ships were the predominant means of trade. While safety and efficiency have improved, the manpower requirements of a modern sailing ship are a fraction of what they were then. The complementary electric drive we will be using is also uncomplicated and straightforward. Photovoltaics are perhaps the most basic way to generate the electricity used to turn the DC motors, and the number of moving parts needing lubrication, adjustment and replacement will be minimal. The simplicity of Greenheart-type ships will make them suitable for a variety of development applications in remote locations, and communities with a low level of formal education.
The renewable energy sources for Greenheart ships provide free power, unlimited range and super clean operation, all of which contribute to low running costs and externalities. There will also be savings to the operators from not having to interrupt operations for fueling, and from the lack of training and equipment for fuel spill clean up. The maintenance and lubricant costs of electric motors are far lower than their internal combustion equivalents.
Low impact, that is, a minimum of negative effects on the environment, is an obvious advantage not only for the operators, but also for local, regional, and global stakeholders in the commons. We realize that building and operating ships of this size will necessarily entail pollution, but two factors make Greenheart ships nearly pollution-free. The first, of course, is the total absence of fuel. No CO2, NOx, SOx; no emissions into the air or water whatsoever. 100% of ship operations, in port and at sea, use clean, renewable energy from the sun and wind. The next factor that lowers the environmental impact of Greenheart-type ships is their shallow draught and low clearance. A typical ocean-going freighter will draw from 5 to 10 meters of water, and be restrained by bridges lower that 20 meters. This means direct environmental impacts from dredging channels and harbors for access, building docks and wharves, and cargo transfers to shallower barges or land transport to move cargoes inland. We are designing Greenheart ships to need no more than 2.3 meters of water, and to be able to pass under bridges as low as five meters above the water Our design allows Greenheart ships to use beaches, estuaries, and other undeveloped coastline to load and unload cargos without the need for any facilities ashore. This will permit them to service vast areas of coastline presently inaccessible to long range ships, reducing costs, energy use, and environmental degradation.
Genoa Sail Plan In order to allow Greenheart ships to pass under bridges, we designed masts that fold down to reduce clearance, and to avoid the usual clutter this creates on deck, we came up with a mast shape and configuration that leaves nearly the entire deck free for cargo handling or fishing activity whether the masts are up or down. A few added benefits from this novel mast design are the ability to raise and lower them in rough conditions, and the ability to load and unload cargos over the bow or stern of the vessel as well as from either side.
Another feature recently added to the ship's design is a large (container-profile) cargo hatch in the transom. This opens to a container-sized compartment sealed at the forward end by another watertight port connecting to the main hold. This provides the ship with another means of loading and unloading, an easy way of stowing and deploying the ship's boats, and a watertight compartment / airlock for emergencies. When opened, the stern hatch and compartment will provide a convenient platform for certain types of fishing operations.
Underwater, the Greenheart ship's hull has a decidedly square profile amidships, with long bilge keels along the chines and a flat, central keel the length of the ship. This will allow reasonable upwind sailing performance while permitting very shallow draught operations. Our ships will service beachfront communities, as well as undeveloped riverbanks and other applications where landing will be part of operations, so the bilge keels and reinforced stem will allow cargo handling while aground.
(For potential applications, see Applications. For present architectural plans see Designs.)