Well, a Japanese man named Kenichi Horie is attempting to be just as environmentally friendly but without the sails.
How does he do it? With a wave-powered boat. Wave power has been discussed quite a bit recently, with a lot of applications including traditional grid energy generation. However, Kenichi is taking things to the next level by powering his ocean going vehicle with the very thing it bobs atop.
As you can see in the photo (click for larger view), the boat is powered by two fins that raise and lower with the tide, which drive the propellers. On board energy is provided by solar panels and the boat is primarily made out of recycled aluminum.
By sailing from Japan to Hawai’i, Kenichi and his Suntory Mermaid II hope to set a Guinness World Record for the longest distance traveled in this type of wave-powered ocean goer. To be sure, this boat doesn’t go very fast (it’s got about half of the speed potential of a diesel powered craft), but this type of innovation is certainly interesting to see. As long as recreational sailing exists, why not try to minimize environmental impact as much as possible, right?
In fact, if you visit the sailor’s page you can track his progress as he crosses the wide Pacific. As of writing he looks to be almost there!
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