An autonomous self-regenerating hydrogen-based zero-emission low-cost low-tech nomad houseboat airship. Wow. What an idea! Lieven Standaert, a Dutch engineer, architect and science teacher, has designed a ship that makes its own energy, using its propellers to generate hydrogen for fuel. The tagline? "Powered by wind, fueled by rain."
Standaert is determined to get his project off of the ground and into the air, and is exhibiting his project, "Aeromodeller II", in Antwerp through March 7th. He calls it the "yacht of the 21st century." The zeppelin is designed around low-tech methods and low-cost materials:
“My design does not need overpressure to preserve a stable form, which means that the forces on the skin become much smaller. The Aeromodeller has a wide frame which absorbs these bending forces. This makes the zeppelin heavier and slower than other airships, but it also makes it sturdier, and much easier and cheaper to build. You don’t need a woven skin material. A light thermoplastic foil will suffice. If you want to accomplish such a high-flying project, you have to think very practical. An important part of the exhibition deals with the question of how to build this thing with 3 people, cheap materials and a flat-iron."
The hydrogen is generated while the ship hovers, cabled to the ground, using water in its ballast tanks, which are refilled by rainwater. Six hours of wind power generate enough hydrogen for an hour of flying.
"My airship has to become a symbol, a flagship for cleaner energy technology. Because it generates its own energy, it needs no new energy infrastructure. Because it does this by means of wind energy, it is a real zero-emission vehicle. And the space required for the storage of hydrogen, the most important practical problem for the use of hydrogen in cars, is not a problem in a zeppelin of 85 meters either."
Standaert gets around the logistical problem of a hanger and ground storage by intending the ship to stay airborne.
So who's going to want to stay airborne all the time? I'll bet people will be fighting for a chance to be driving one of these...
[via Low-Tech Magazine]