The only thing today’s pirates have in common with the swashbucklers of yesteryear is their sheer brutality. So what better way to fight pirates but with a superfast unmanned boat that is 400% more fuel efficient than similar vessels.
The aptly-named Piranha was developed by Ohio-based Zyvex Technologies. Wearing a high-tech carbon fiber shell utilizing nano-technology, the 54-foot unmanned naval vessel is 75% lighter than a comparably sized aluminum boat. It is also 40% stronger, and 400% more fuel efficient than similar boast thanks to this extra-strong and extra-light shell. Zyvex recently completed a 600 nautical-mile sea test, and while cruising at 25 knots a normal aluminum boat would have consumed around 50 gallons of fuel. The Piranha used only 12 gallons of fuel, returning approximately 2.5 MPG at 25 knots…which doesn’t sound like much, but is four-times better than most boats that size. That’ nothing short of amazing.
Designed to combat piracy, the unmmand vessel could stay at sea for extended periods and respond quickly to hijacking attempts by pirates. The Piranha can travel 2,800 nautical miles between refueling, and weighs just 8,400 pounds where most similar boats tip the scales at 20 tons, or 40,000 pounds. It can also perform oceanographic surveying, eliminating the need to feed and supply a whole crew, further eliminating unnecessary elements and weight.
Think about it; no kitchen, bathroom, bunks; just a dedicated service craft. And of course there are plenty of military applications too. I doubt we’ll be seeing carbon fiber used on ships en masse anytime soon, but these materials could end up paying for themselves in fuel and weight savings. Imagine an entire container ship built from carbon fiber and stripped of its crew quarters? It’d be thousands of tons lighter, meaning we could deliver goods faster and more efficiently. Perhaps scaling up this technology isn’t as far away as I first thought.
Source: Nanotech Now
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.