Wednesday, October 20, 2010
A superferry in the sky?
by Larry Geller
These days Google finds hits for the search term “Superferry” outside the Hawaiian Islands.
Just for the curious, here’s an article on the latest Superferry, a UK registered ship much larger than Hawaii’s, and at least superficially of more conventional design.
The vessel, called Stena Britannica, is 240 metre long and has capacity for 1,200 passengers, 230 cars and 300 freight vehicles.
What might work in Hawaii would be a ship significantly smaller than the two Austal vessels.
Or why not give up on ships altogether—how about a blimp
Check out the IEEE Spectrum article Airships for the 21st Century, and this video. Click the thingy at the bottom center for full screen.
No, we won’t have interisland airships tomorrow or anytime soon. But on the other hand, we may not have an interisland ferry any time soon either. So for the moment, just imagine a passenger blimp from Waikiki to Lahaina, or future cargo blimps run by flexible solar panels on the top surfaces. That’s right out of the IEEE article, which explains how the new blimps work and how they are powered.
Was looking back in my files for an article from the past year about future cargo blimps. Can't find it now. I think it had a video with it and I remember thinking that it would be able to overcome the main problem that HSF had. Bottom line, moving through water at high speed costs more in fuel than moving through air at high speed and the reason is because of the greater resistance of the water. Anyway, I did find an interesting video and articles on the current state of the technology. Check 'em out:
Current Tech: http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/airships/4242974