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Volitan Concept Boat Uses Wind Power and Solar Energy

The Volitan, meaning "flying fish," is a pretty fantastic concept boat with impeccable green credentials, using sails, wind and solar power to get around, storing energy in its batteries. The secret to the Volitan — which can operate in 60-knot winds — is the way its four wings react to weather conditions.

Illustration for article titled Volitan Concept Boat Uses Wind Power and Solar Energy
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A networked computer on board controls the boat's systems, including the wings, which track the sun and wind and adapt depending on whether it's sunny or windy. If the weather is absolutely atrocious, the upper wings, which are covered with solar panels and act as sails, fold up against the side of the boat. The lower wings help stabilize the boat, and contain a couple of DC motors. When the Volitan docks, these two stabilizer wings tuck away.

Illustration for article titled Volitan Concept Boat Uses Wind Power and Solar Energy
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DesignNobis, the Turkish company behind the Volitan, claims that there were many factors behind the boat's design. "The objective was to create a new and alternative sailing vessel that would achieve a lightweight system, high sail performance, and all-weather navigation capacity with near zero emissions." [Yanko]

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DISCUSSION

@Oldbrass: I'd disagree, and I've definitely spent plenty of time on the water. Carbon fiber masts look fairly flimsy in person, but can take a huge amount of stress. And they look like the don't need to carry anywhere near the loads of the weighted keels of America's Cup yachts. Moreover, the the article does state that they get locked into a vertical position during high winds, at which point there would be very little jarring force normal to the plane of the sail, which would be the only direction I would be worried about. One assumes they would build them to take wind speeds up to that 60 knot rating.

That's not to say that I expect it to every become a reality, just that I don't think it would fall apart instantly.