Composites of Sailing Innovation

By Tom

Is it a bird . . . a plane . . . or . . . ?  No! It’s a World Speed Sailing Yacht!

I studied Aerospace Engineering at university and so as you’d imagine I have a keen interest in all things aerospace. When Tim Clarke from Verney Yachts first showed me his new design, my gut reaction was, “this is one strange looking plane!” This was very quickly followed by a moment of confusion and then a moment of realisation.

Tim and his team at Verney Yachts have set themselves the challenge of breaking the world outright sailing speed record using the Yacht they are designing, the V39 – Albatross:

V-39 Albatross Wing Sails

To break the record they aim to travel at 60-65 knots (Approx. 71-76 miles per hour). Also the operation of the sail is a little different than normal. To tack, the wing-sail rotates by 90 degrees around a hinge on the hull of the boat. Even Tim has acknowledged the challenge: “the concept design phase has thrown up a really challenging and interesting set of requirements for the wing-sail structure.”

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Verney have been using SIMULIA’s Abaqus software to conduct non-linear finite element analysis on the boat and wing-sail as well as conducting the overall design in SolidWorks. As you can see it has two wings (or sails!) in an “L” configuration. The wing-sails are made of a composite construction, much like an ultra-modern aircraft wing. This material choice makes the wings very light and strong, but complex.

I’ll be following Tim and Verney throughout their quest to break the world record and you can too:

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Good Luck Verney!

Cheers, Tom

Open Innovation, Empowerment and Exploitation

By Kate

Jonathan sent me the link to the below presentation this morning.  I was intrigued by slide number 29, which suggests that Open Innovation (in the case of the presentation, a hybrid approach using crowdsourcing and co-creation) is a “thin line between empowerment and exploitation.”

I started thinking about Jonathan’s Social Innovation in Plain English video that ends with the benefits a person could reap for participating in such a project:

  • New skills
  • PR
  • New opportunities
  • Satisfaction
  • Listened to
  • Experience
  • Networking
  • Fun
  • Geeky
  • Business development

And then I started pondering why I, Kate, would take the time, thought and energy to participate?

Is this just a reflection of the freemium business model?  You give, and then later, maybe you’ll get paid to give more?

Will the future entail us having to roll up our sleeves and transpire a little to be accepted into the “it” networks?  You know, the ones actually doing something other than networking.

Or are we talking altruism?  I think it’s naïve to think people will lend their time and talent for free.  Unless it’s for a NGO.

How will this crowdsourcing, social innovation, co-create, open collaboration thing REALLY work . . . for the individuals?



Do you want to live in a “Better Place”?

By Jonathan

Road side EV charging meters

Well that’s what Shai Agassi wants, so he decided to create a company called Better Place to, as they say,

accelerate the transition to sustainable transport by globally providing electric vehicle (EV) services

Better Place is one of the few, if not the only, company that is working on the challenge of providing the total infrastructure to support electric vehicles.

Surely, I hear you ask, what could we need other than charging points?

Let’s imagine a scenario where at 7 p.m. we all arrive home from work, we park our EV cars in our garages or on the side of the road and then….plug them in! Sounds cool for us, but this is in fact a nightmare for today’s electricity generation & distribution companies. For example, the Football World Cup, viewed by millions at home, has hundreds of thousands of fans all rushing into the kitchen at half-time to turn the kettle on…

With EVs there’s potentially going to be a much higher demand when they plug in. But at the same time not all the EVs will be fully discharged, so some clever energy management could help to balance electricity demands & availability, by discharging some EVs to re-charge others. It’s almost like managing a power station in it’s own right – perhaps a scary thought for today’s Power Gen companies…?

Denmark,on the other hand, is turning this challenge to their advantage. Twenty percent of their electricity is generated by wind turbines. But turbines are generally most active at night when winds are most stable (turbines will automatically shutdown when winds are gusty), but electricity demand is low at night so batteries are needed to store the energy produced, so why not put wheels on the batteries…

That’s not all, there are Quickdrop stations to change your discharged battery if you haven’t time to wait for a charge; there’s clever navigation software combined with the vehicle’s charge level to find the best solution for your journey. . . I could go on, have a look instead at the video, albeit a little too “perfect and shiny white teeth” it does show well the general idea.  Oh – and check out the EV’s registration plates :-)

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The great news that DS is already working with Better Place, providing them with the software for battery and mechanical design and for exchanging data with Renault.

I hope that DS can work on lots more projects with this innovative company. Stay tuned…

Sustainably yours,

Ps. check out my previous posts

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