About the project
Hypership is a future concept where i try to rethink the shipment of containers across the oceans in a more sustainable way. This model suggests ship vessels that run on solar energy autonomously, use GPS technology to navigate and sensors to avoid collisions.
During the reasearch process I have looked at global problems like climate change and causes of it. In the first fase I was contacting firms which have knowledge and practice within fields of energy. Despite lots of insight I didn't land on anything. I started looking at other reasons of pollution. High human impact on environment is caused by our consumption. Realizing that I cannot change behavior of people, I looked at other things related to our consumption. Then I decided to work with so called "super cargo ships"
16 biggest ships polute more than all cars in the world. Considering goods transported devided by fuel used, the ships are not the worst ones. Though they still impact our environment extremly. For example, they use heavy duty oil which contains more sulfur than diesel. It causes emission of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and other toxic elements, contains corcinogens and causes cancer. In addition, it destroys ozon layer, causes sound pollution, oil spills, wildlife collisions, and simply environmental stress for those who live near docks where ship burn the oil just for standing there.
First I was looking at different ways of transporting goods in big distances with high speed. I looked at submarine technologies, vacuum tubes, Gauss rifle principles. Until i decided to look at things simplier . At first I was considering technologies like Hydrofoil and Hovercraft. But both technical solutions are not efficient enough due to high lifting power required hardly achievable with renewable sources of energy.
First prototype was about making a one container ship that runs on hydrofoil wings powered by salt water. Complication of technology of transforming salt water into energy made it quiete difficult. I couldn't simply calculate how much energy and space is required to make it real. Even for one container it seemed to be impossible.
Dead end of a process
Hydrofoil boats run much faster on water than traditional ships. In order to lift the ship above the water, more power is required. So the use of fossil fuel is higher than in traditional ship. This insight led me into a corner. How can I achieve that lifting power with just renewable energy?
Biomimicry helped me to get out of the corner and look at the problem from a different angle. I decided to mimick the nature and look at how fishes move under the water. How can fishes move continuosly for several days without resting? I found out that muscles that fishes use is special kind of muscles that don't use a lot of energy. Most of the movements are made by the body, while the tail is just following trajectory of that movement. The tail is strong and a bit flexible. If fishes can move with low energy use, why can't we?
I tried to simulate a 3D model I created in Fusion 360. The model I made was a pure metal fish made of sections that are connected to each other: each part is transformed if the previous (closer to the head) part is moving. In that way, slight movement of the head will cause the whole body to move in a wave form. With a bit flexible tail we can copy movements of the fish.
Combination of that motion study and traditional ship became my goal. So the next step was sketching and CAD modeling.
I decided to go for futuristic look. Rounded shape of the ship with minor details. I tried to combine traditional shape of a ship with a form of a fish. You can see the result of my sketches here.
I made some prototype models from styrofoam to explore the forms. That helped me to find right length and width for perfect center of gravity. I needed the model to be stable so that it won't tilt back.
The test showed that the center of gravity should be in the front of the ship, so that the ship does not fall back. Considering heavy accumulators and cargo, we can easily achieve the desired result.
First 3D model I made from a sketch (to the left) is low detailed and is a basic form model. The model to the right is a combination of fish tail with this form. It contains three moving parts that interact and create a wave movement.
Main-underwater part of the ship is a bit wider and is like in a traditional ship. Top part of the ship is more flat with a backside hanging in the air. Both aero- and hydro dynamic form combines into an enclosed body with a biomimetic propulsion system on the lower backpart.
Enclosed body will secure containers inside. Both from pirates and from falling into the ocean. Absence of outside decks makes this ship highly resistant to storms and big waves. The ship can simply dive through the wave.
The top side of the ship provides 6000 square meters for installation of solar panels. These panels will give approximately 1,2 MW during the summer day in the worst conditions.
Why not propeller?
My initial goal was to find a new and energy efficient way of propulsing the ship. Energy efficient means more sustainable cause than we can use solar energy or other renewable energy source.
Resistance and cavitation
Propellers are very accurate parts wich are designed for individual requirements of each ship. Every small detail is made to meet those spesific requirments, like cuting angle, size, width etc. Each propeller is efficient up to a certain speed of the ship. Going above that speed is causing water to boil where low pressure is created by propeller. Boiling water is what creates millions of small bubbles that damages the propeller. Damaged propellers cannot be repaired, only replaced. In addition moving propeller meets constant water resistance due to its form. The higher speed the higher is resistance.
So the innovative propulsion system needs less energy and is more hydrodynamic, thus it is more energy efficient compared to a traditional propeller. This kind of propulsion system will also make less noise and will be less frightening to fishes.
Unfolding wing with sail is a supplementar propulsion mechanism. A sensor placed on top will calculate the wind direction and send signal to main computer which will unfold the sail. This will give additional propulsion in case of right wind direction and thus save some energy during the trip. If the wind is opposite direction the wing will fold down and draw in the sail to meet less resistance.
In order to position sail right according to the wind direction, the wing can rotate arround its own axe. Traditional sailing is a difficult work. Turning the sail into right position can move the ship over long distances. In this concept i don't go into details of sailing but I see big potential in that if we implement new technology.
Busses without drivers already exist today. Their path is navigated with help of GPS technology. Dozens of sensors that are constantly correcting the way. During the trip autonomous buss has to consider traffic rules and unexpected events like human traffic. Hypership is using the same GPS navigation system and is constantly overwatched by satellites. Navigation path is continuously corrected. It is also equipped with sensors that provide safe passage in the ocean. But the system is much simplier and needs to take less considerations than busses.
Sonar or not?
The difficulty of surveiling under water is that usual infrared sensors will not work properly. The sensors will read water as an obstacle. Possibility would be a sonar location which is usualy used on ships, but we don't want to be unfriendly to the whales. Need for an improvement here.
The sensors will work both day and night and are not dependent on light conditions. It is a simple line of infrared light which sends signal if it is interrupted. This interruption indicates an obstacle in the way. Moving object are spoted in range and the computer is able to calculate the trajectory and speed of the object to avoid collision.
New way of shipping will require new infrastructure for logistic. A station unit would be a large hangar that can service several ships at a time. The station is equipped with conveyor belts and cranes to manage the traffic of containers. The logistic can be setup in energy sufficient way. Less lifting and more conveying of the containers. Since the Hypership is arriving with "the nose" inside, the containers can be conveyed in- and out. There are many different ways of solving this problem.For instance the Hyppership can be equipped with a large "box" with containers that can be rolled out of the ships just in several minutes. In this case the next "box" is prepared for the shipment before the arrival.
To calculate energy requirments of Hypership I have contacted my engineer friend. He has made a rough calculation which I present here. We measured against one of todays biggest cargo ships Emma Maersk. The rough calculation numbers show that effectivness in "containers per hour" is 65 (E.M.) against 20 (Hypership), but the fuel burned per hour is 83 liters of heavy fuel oil (E.M.) against 0 (Hypership).
735 MW battery is a massive installation which is usualy found in electrical stations. Those batteries would take a lot of time to recharge. They are heavy. The production of those is also not an environmental friendly method. But in the long run we will not suffocate ourselves and everyone else on the planet to death.
I'm 27 year old and i Study Industrial design at Oslo school of Architecture and Design. I like technical stuff, reading books, painting, travel, nature and meat.